Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Spongebob on Broadway at The Palace Theatre

Thanks to Nickelodeon, Jace and I got to experience SpongeBob on Broadway a couple weeks ago and it was unbelievable. When I think of Nickelodeon the first thing that pops into my head is usually the yellow quirky sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea, I mean cmon he's been around for about 18 years. That's pretty insane to me as I am 30 years old now, and remember when it first appeared on the television. Still, it is one of the most watched shows on Nickelodeon that kids and adults of all ages enjoy tuning into for a good laugh. I honestly had no idea what to expect, and it turned out to be more than just a show. So many meanings and life lessons being taught throughout it that it made you really understand the characters as more than just characters. I won't give too much away because it is such a wonderful family event I would suggest you find time for soon.

I do want to say that I was skeptical if Jace was really going to be into it as he has watched SpongeBob just here and there. But he was stunned by everything. The backdrops, the costumes, the music, the interaction. It was just a perfect way to open his eyes up to the world of Broadway. It was his first Broadway show, and most definitely not his last. He enjoyed it so much that he is now highly anticipating another show soon. 

We laughed but also were taught the true value of friendship and SELF-love. It was a big thing that they were trying to explain as SpongeBob was being told he was just a simple sponge and was not capable of much he decided to not listen to what everyone else had to say and took matters into his own hands to prove just how much he was able to achieve. He shows that anything is possible if you just believe in yourself, and stay true to yourself. 

When I asked Jace about his favorite part he said he loved watching the friendship that SpongeBob(Ethan Slater)has with Patrick(Danny Skinner). He said they were able to be silly together but at the same time come up with a solution together to their problems. He said it reminded him a lot of like a brother kind of bond like the one he has with his little brother. It was sweet that he noticed that, and was able to 

My favorite part of the show has got to be Sandy Cheeks(Lilli Cooper). I absolutely love how they showed her character to be empowering and fearless. She was a woman who felt she didn't belong because she was "different" and didn't fit the standards everyone had, "too witty", "too brainy". She rose above it and at the end of it all was the true hero that helped her whole community even when they were against her. It was a great platform that they chose for her, and her character as the brains of the group. 

If you ever wanted to feel like you were part of Bikini Bottom, just waiting in line for a yummy Krusty Crab burger than this is the show for you. And just when you thought it couldn't sound any better the musical includes some original songs from Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T's, Steven Tyler, They Might Be Giants, and T.I, plus many more.

Currently showing at The Palace Theatre in NYC. Thank you to Nickelodeon for hosting us, and letting us have a really cool Meet and Greet with some of the actors/actresses that are part of the musical. They also gave us some really cool Merch that we would love to share with you guys! To win some SpongeBob goodies, just go comment below and you will be entered to win! 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

They followed The Star.

Earlier this week the boys and I were invited by Sony Pictures to go and see an early screening of the movie The Star. I remember seeing the previews a while back and saying it was a must watch for us this coming holiday season. I was very happy to finally see a movie about the true meaning of Christmas. Not to say I don't like any of the classic Christmas movies, or the whole idea of Santa because I do. I enjoy everything there is to Christmas that makes it a magical time for everyone, but I do love things that shed light on the real reason why we celebrate it. I also try my best to teach my children all about Jesus, and why I believe in him. So this movie was great because it was a fun and bright way to teach them something I have somehow struggled to teach them myself in a way that they will enjoy it. With some great cast members such as Steven YeunGina RodriguezZachary LeviKeegan-Michael KeyKelly ClarksonPatricia HeatonKristin ChenowethTracy MorganTyler Perry, and Oprah Winfrey

I believe it was a great mix of truth, and entertainment enough to keep small children interested but still show real facts about the "First Christmas Ever". My youngest loved the donkey named Bo. He was a mill donkey who wanted to do more with his life and when he saw a new star appear in the sky he felt it was a sign of something good to come. He knew he had to go for his dreams and leave the life he has always had to find out what this star meant. It was a sweet story that anyone can really relate to, where you feel a bit lost or not content with life and know you have a bigger purpose. He also said one of his favorite characters was Mary because she was loving and compassionate. She found Bo and right away took him as her own. She gave him a name and a home and made sure he felt part of her little family. She was also a resilient woman with so much faith, that she knew she was being used for a greater purpose. I loved the way that they defined her and Joseph's marriage. They showed it as something that was not perfect but at the same time supportive and admiring.

My oldest loved hearing all the comedy from Dan the Dove. He was Bo's best friend that followed him along his journey with Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. He helped them during all the tough situations that kept getting in the way of them keeping Mary safe from the ones who did not like the idea of a new King to be born. Despite every bad situation, they found a way to work together to not allow anything to harm Mary or her baby without even knowing exactly why Mary was in danger. Without even knowing that they were soon going to witness the birth of the Messiah.

I don't want to give too much away, but its quite obvious that at the end Baby Jesus is born where he was meant to be born, in a small manger over a bright and beautiful star. It was obvious to everyone that something special and out of the ordinary was occurring right in front of their eyes. It was such a beautiful scene that honestly almost made me tear up. It was such a perfect ending where you just feel that something amazing just happened, and there is so much more to come. I am honestly hoping that there is more to come, like a sequel that shows more biblical stories of Jesus and all the great things he did during his time so that children can learn more about these stories in a fun way. My boys loved the movie and laughed through the whole thing. It completely warmed my heart when we knew Jesus was soon going to be born and they were both so excitingly saying " Baby Jesus is coming, He is coming!" and then there faces when they showed Baby Jesus their eyes were filled with pure joy. They both looked at me after the end of the movie and said: " Jesus being born was my favorite part of the movie". It was a part they were anticipating to see the whole time, and finally, when it happened they most definitely felt the greatness of it.  I am pretty sure we will be going again really soon to rewatch it.

We got some really awesome goodies that were given to us by Sony to celebrate this movie release and one of my lucky followers will be winning this prize package. All you have to do to sign up for this giveaway is to subscribe through email on the right hand side, and then comment DONE under this blog post, and don't forget to go check out this movie in theatres now, with your family to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Our Play Fair Experience!

When I think of Christmas I automatically think about toys. Because honestly, it is the only real thing my kids want to add to their list. I remember as a child being so disappointed when opening up presents of clothing when now let's face it, it's all I want.  But children cant get enough of toys, and lucky for us mommas there is a new toy being made every minute. From big ones to little ones, to educational or tech-savvy. When we were invited to attend Play Fair we knew we would need all three days to soak it all in. Yup,  I said three days. I know we are pretty insane, but all in all, it wasn't much of a headache and the boys had the most amazing time ever. They met all their favorite cartoon characters, and got many hugs from them all!

We were invited to attend Media Night first on Friday Night to get a first look at what we could expect at Play Fair, then we also attended on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday for the last day. There was honestly so much to do, so much to see. We did all three days because we live walking distance from Javits Center, and also because they wanted to experience every single part of the fair. On here I will just narrow it down to a couple of our favorites!

 The first thing that caught the boys eyes when we got there was the lifesize Paw Patrol Lookout Tower. They spent some time there with the SpinMaster crew and got to go down just like the pups do before their missions begin. We also looked around at the Midtown Comics section, where the boys glanced through all the cool Funko Pops wall. The Playdoh kitchen creation station was a big hit with my little one, as he is huge on playdoh. Trust me it is all over our home, and I can't count how many times he has made "food" for me with jars of it. Super Mopi was a big hit, for both of the boys actually, even though my oldest was way too big for them he found a way to enjoy the ride. They loved it so much it was honestly one of the few that they went to all three days!

The lego station was amazing, and so spacious for so many children to create. They had this really cool racetrack where you got to race down your lego created cars. The boys really enjoyed making them and then using them to race them down, and then do it all over again. My little one liked it so much that he was hoping he could buy the racetrack they had there for it, so I had to improvise and make him one out of paper once we got home. Super Soccer Stars were there and my oldest was so ready to show off his soccer skills. He has been a really big fan of soccer since daycare, so he got all in the mix and started scoring some goals left and right. The teachers that were there were so patient and fun. He had a good time learning new things he didn't know he could even do with a soccer ball. My youngest was very proud of himself each time he scored a goal just like his big brother!

There was an ALEX Brand Art Station that the boys both really loved. They were so excited to find out that the very own Crafty Carol from Cool School on Youtube was going to be there, and she was going to do a craft with them all. They were all smiles while talking to her and telling her how much they love watching her videos and creating all the fun crafts she teaches.  On the last day, we did the things I knew the boys were looking forward to the most. So we hit up the Ben 10 station which you got to spin a really huge wheel that would land on a Ben 10 character and a surprise gift would come out for you. They loved that they got to go on a stage together and speak into a mic. It honestly gave me wheel of fortune vibes. They won some really cool Ben 10 masks that they play with just about every day since.

Saved the BEST for last. If anyone follows me or knows the boys they know that WWE is their life. It is honestly something they have enjoyed since they were able to walk and talk. It has been part of our lifestyle, and it's honestly such an important part of our family. They can name all the superstars, even the wrestlers way before their time. I don't believe any other 3 and 6 years old knows as much as they do about the WWE. So when I found out that Daniel Bryan and The Big Show were going to not only have a Q&A session, but they were going to do a meet and greet with autograph signing, I knew they were going to feel like the luckiest kids in the whole entire world.  We sat front row for the Q&A session and the boys loved hearing all they had to say. They told us how wrestling became their career, and how their love for it began. They told us about their all-time favorite superstars that they enjoyed watching when they were younger. It was a great session because I feel like we got to see a different side of them that isn't shown during their wrestling shows. They asked them a pretty cool question if they could have any super power what power would they choose. They both answered HEALING. To end poverty, to end violence, to end hunger. To heal all who are hurt or broken. It was just amazing to hear them say that because both of my boys really look up to them, and they explained how flying or invisibility could be fun, but there is nothing better than to be a real change in your community, in others lives. That is something to definitely look up to.

After the Q&A we went over to the lines to meet them and take photos with each of them. They gave high fives, they asked them their names, and they even got to do the YES! with Daniel. Let's just say they were in heaven.  It was awesome being able to check off something on their top five list of things they would want to do. It was also the most perfect way to end our Play Fair experience. I believe Play Fair is such a perfect event for kids of all ages. You were able to find things for kids ages 1 to about 15 years old. It had everything from toys to books, comics, to classes, to hands-on experiences. My boys were far from bored during our three-day experience, and they still anticipated to go back for more. We had such a fun and eventful time, and they are already counting down the days until next years which I am sure will be even bigger and even better.

We were hosted by Play Fair to attend this event, but all opinions are honest and our own! 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Visiting Santa HQ by HGTV at Queens Center Mall

Before I became an NYC mom, I was a single childless Queens girl. With that being said the holidays were a very exciting time while living out there for me, but in a different way than it is now. The city is beautiful during this time of year, all the lights, the Rockefeller tree, and all the holiday window displays. There is no doubt about it that NYC is a must during the holidays, but Queens has something different, yet special to get people into the holiday cheer. From the cool and very grand house lawn displays (If you have never gone to see the Lynch house you should add it to your bucket list - as a child it has always been one of my most favorite holiday memories), the huge selection of tree farms, and now Santa HQ at Queens Center Mall.

We were hosted by Queens Center Mall and HGTV to go and check out the Santa headquarters before it became open to the public the next day. The boys actually have never gone to see Santa before, so they were very excited. They were far from scared, and so ready to meet him and sit on his lap. When we first got there it was time to get scanned at the Naughty or Nice O'Meter and find out if you were making the naughty or the nice list. They stood on the footprints while it scanned their body and read their behavior. It then showed their name on the list they made it onto. My youngest let me know he was not going to tell Santa that he has been naughty. Luckily Santa let him slide this time and put him on the nice list! My oldest was standing there hoping for the same luck, and well enough his name landed on the nice list. Let's just hope the elves don't realize their machine could possibly have a glitch!

After the behavior scan, we got to take a prop photo in front of the Santa HQ backdrop, which was a perfect way to save the memory of our experience. We then got to go inside what looked like Santas living room. It had a couch, with a TV and some cookies, but the fun part was the tablets that were connected over the TV which allowed you to take elf selfies of your face and create a very funny personalized dancing elf video where our faces were put onto the elves bodies. It was super silly, and the boys loved watching it over and over again.

The next room was called the control room. A bunch of different buttons, and switches that controlled many different things like the sleigh and other things. Lucky for us it doesn't really control everything because the way my little ones were pushing and turning knobs wouldn't have been a good outcome!

   Lastly, the grand finale was getting to meet the big guy!He took the time to ask the boys their names, their ages, and what they were looking forward to receiving on Christmas Day. We took many photos and then he left them with a little piece of advice so they can stay on the nice list: Eat your veggies, and always listen to mommy and daddy. I am hoping they haven't already forgotten Santa's wise words.

There are so many more awesome things about Santa HQ like...... no lines! You can easily just make a reservation to see Santa now on your phone or computer before you even get there. Then they outdid themselves with a little something called Elf Ray Vision. Let's just say its an inside look at the busy elves that help make Christmas so magical. So much to see and so much to do. It is a Santa visit experience like no other. I would really recommend it especially for children who have never done so and it will be their first visit. It isn't rushed or intimidating at all. Plus the elves were the funniest and most entertaining, they had the boys laughing every minute.

 Most importantly the photos came out perfect, and they will soon be hanging on my wall to show off to everyone during all the holiday festivities we will be hosting. Thank you, Queens Center Mall!  We will be returning on December 2nd for a breakfast with Santa at the food court. Also, they will be having a Help Through Holiday Giving Toy Drive from November 18th to December 10th, bring an unwrapped toy for underprivileged children who deserve a little Christmas cheer.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Good Housekeeping Halloween Bash

Today was a sad day, I took all the Halloween decor down and off the walls. Not to say I am not ready to start decorating my home into my very own winter wonderland...but it was still kind of sad. I love everything Halloween, but most of all I love the decor for it. I honestly die of jealousy when I catch a glimpse on social media of how decked out the Kardashians do it up for Halloween every year, but it is most certainly where I get some of my ideas. Yup, I said the Kardashians....they are the queens of Halloween, trust me. It's probably the only time I check their social media platforms.

The boys and I were invited to a Good Housekeeping Halloween Bash at the Hearst building. Now, if you don't know what Good Housekeeping is - you must have been hiding under a rock or something, but it is a fun-filled magazine with lots of recipe and home decor ideas. I was just reading their November issue actually to figure out how I'm going to reuse my Halloween pumpkins to create a cute and elegant centerpiece for Thanksgiving (soon on the blog). Anyways, it is the perfect kind of magazine to have around your home to help you add some finesse to your abode, and keep your home smelling like Thanksgiving every day.

We knew it was going to be a great time, and I knew the decor and food display was going to be perfection. They surely did not disappoint. Each room was set up with something different to eat, create, and to make things even better - there was a basket with a different toy for each child to "trick or treat".  We started in the first room where we were greeted with yummy eyeball cupcakes from Baked By Melissa. The boys devoured them and loved that they were made festively to celebrate Halloween. After that, we went to the next room where they were holding a storytime and reading Princesses Wear Pants by Savannah Guthrie and Allison Oppenheim.  They had pillows and blankets all laid out to get comfy and cozy while the kids munched on some white chocolate covered ghost strawberries that they were able to dip and make themselves. While the adults had a whole table filled with cheese and crackers, and of course wine to pair with it lovely. 

The last room was the art room where there was tons of paints, brushes, and mini pumpkins. All the children got to let their inner artist out by painting their own pumpkins. My little artist love when events have some kind of arts and crafts, it definitely keeps them busy for some time.  I loved that it was kid friendly, with lots and lots of snacks because we all know kids run off of snacks all day long. But they didn't forget about us less important adults too! They made the event perfect for everyone to enjoy. It was an excellent way for us to start our pre-Halloween celebration for sure!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

DIY Christmas Nativity Scene inspired by THE STAR.

 When I think about Christmas, my first thought is not presents or Santa. It's Jesus. I was born and raised in a Catholic family, where going to church every Sunday was a regular thing. My parents made sure I was aware of the real reason why we celebrate Christmas. Sure they let me believe in Santa and they completely decked out the whole house in decor, but I always understood that Jesus was the one we had to keep in mind during the celebrations. I carried that with me forever, even when I decided that Catholicism was not aligned well with my full beliefs. I found a deeper connection with Him and learned a lot about my faith in the past years, and Christmas has definitely become my favorite holiday because of that exact reason.

As a child, I remember one of my most memorable memories was putting the Christmas tree up. Not for the tree itself but for the nativity we would create under it. My parents put a lot of time and dedication into their set up each year, and I was always ready to give them ideas and put my little creativity to work as well. It was magical and created this beautiful space in our living room for everyone to admire.

Unfortunately, my parents no longer create these beautiful scenes under the tree, but I decided that with our new apartment, and bigger space I would start an old family tradition with my boys just as I had done with my parents. I haven't fully started it all, but wanted to get started on the main center: The Nativity Scene. With the new movie The Star coming out in theatres soon on November 17th I knew this was the best time to get started and enjoy some creative crafting with my little ones. Don't let the pictures fool you though, there was a lot of arguing about who was going to do what.

We started off with this wooden plain tray from Michaels, and some green felt paper that we put right over the bottom of the tray to create a grass kind of look. We then took some beautiful washi tape with gold nativity scene illustrations to border around the tray. Once that was placed we started adding some hay to the bottom to envision a stable feel and placed the nativity set right on top of it.

We decided to put some small Christmas trees on the sides of the tray to add to the visual, and some mini wrapped present boxes on the side for a colorful pop. I wanted to give it a nice bright golden look so I found different kinds of lighting to add to the space such as copper wire lights, flameless LED candles, and a really fun lightbox to give it a personal touch. Lastly inspired by the movie we added some hanging star garland above the nativity. It came beautiful, and the boys loved it.

Once our tree is up I will be moving the nativity to go under it, and around it, we will create a beautiful winter village to go along with it. It will look just like when I was younger. Now the boys are anxiously awaiting the movie The Star in a couple of weeks! Watch the trailer below, and don't miss out on this very cute and funny movie about the first Christmas on November 17th!

-Disclaimer: We received compensation for all products needed to make the crafts, but all opinions are our own! 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Halloween 2017- Goody bags & Games!

Halloween is officially over, and though I love Christmas I can't bear to get rid of all my fun and spooky Halloween decor just yet. I made sure that the house would have Halloween decor for a little over a month. I know we started early, but the boys love it so it was a must. My youngest was a ninja and my oldest chose to be a zombie ninja, because he's at the age where Halloween means you gotta be scary looking.

As class parent I had the chance to plan the Halloween class party this year, with help from other parents too! It turned out great and they all had so much fun. We had an hour to enjoy, so I planned out two games that wouldn't take too long but get them in a silly mood. We played Mummy Wrap, were they were put in groups of 4 and had to wrap one child up in toilet paper from head to toe in a team effort. They loved it and got a kick out of doing it to their teachers as well. The second game we played was a Spider race. With a double sided race track I made out of poster board they used plastic spiders to flick from start to finish!

I wanted to make the goody bags simple and candy less! Since I was very sure they would rack up on candy after school anyway. With the help of Michaels and Target we were able to give Halloween themed note pads, tattoos, stamps, pencils, and glow sticks ! I also added some Play doh for fun molding, and for a sweet treat Flipz chocolate covered pretzels was the perfect choice. The awesome skeleton labels were made with Avery and has a personal touch with their class name on them. 

As for snacks I got a bit creative with Dunkin Donuts glazed donuts and turned them into scary vampires with plastic fangs the kids could wear after they finished. The monster juice was a big hit, we used Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness and mixed some white grape juice into it to thin it down a bit. They had no idea they were actually drinking in some veggies! We had so many other treats as well lined up on the table! 

All the kids were happy, the parents were happy, and the teachers were too! I believe Party planning is something I am good at because I really enjoy it, and I think about everyone that is important during it. I love that his school allows me to be so involved because it helps me bond with all the important people on his life that he finds comfort in daily. Plus I'm a person that just can't stay still for long and fun projects like this keep me busy and inspired. Cheers to my first class parent party & soon we will be on to the next one !