The holidays are such a magical time of year, and growing up in Brooklyn I remember the joy of visiting the grand homes in Dyker Heights, the wonder of visiting local craft fairs and the excitement of venturing into the city to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. New York City is wonderful place that offers our children so much artistic and cultural attractions during the year, and this certainly doesn’t slow down during the holidays. Now that I am a mom I’ve come to appreciate this wonder in a different light, as I have started to introduce my kids to the magic of the holidays that is right in Brooklyn. Here are some of my favorite kid-friendly holiday spots.
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights: This is really the grand daddy of holiday lights that draws in people from all over NYC and even around the world. This includes a block of dozen homes that are brightly lit with everything from Santa Claus, colorful bulbs, plastic snowmen, plastic soldiers and the incredible life-sized Victorian figures from “A Christmas Carol”. The best time is to go from 5-9pm where you may even see a live Frosty the Snowman and Santa roaming around. A bit of a trek from the subway, so be sure to bundle up and enjoy this truly unique holiday spectacle. Also, check out A Slice of Brooklyn for a cannoli tour before or after you take in the sights. Location: 11th Avenue 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street, Brooklyn.
Ice Skating at Aviator Sports: I haven’t tried ice-skating yet with my daughter’s but I think this is the year that I try this fun winter sport with my four-year-old. Aviator Sports, a huge indoor space, is a great place to skate and even enjoy cool events like Breakfast with Santa. Rates are $9 for adults and $7 for kids with skate rentals costing $5 and they are open seven days a week. Location: 3159 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn.
Craft Fairs: I love craft fairs and Brooklyn is home to several including the always-exciting Brooklyn Flea including their upcoming Gifted event where you can find handmade and vintage goodies as well as artisanal food. I also love Brooklyn Craft Central’s upcoming Holiday Market where you can discover handpicked items from local designers to find really unique and personalized gifts for everyone on your list Location: Brooklyn Flea, One Hanson Place and Brooklyn, Brooklyn Craft Central, Littlefield in Park Slope/Gowanus.
Performance of the Nutcracker: It has become a tradition of ours to see the Nutcracker every year during the holidays. I love going to Brooklyn College (you really can’t beat $10 tickets) for their colonial American version and in Brooklyn you can also see the show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and at Kingsborough Community College with the Brighton Ballet Theater. Location: Brooklyn College, 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn; BAM, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn and Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard, Brooklyn.
Celebrating Hanukkah: The festival of lights is fast approaching, and Brooklyn is a great way to experience this holiday. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum has a fantastic event where your kids can learn about the culture and traditions of the holiday and then take home a craft. You can also view a 32-foot Menorah (also dubbed Brooklyn’s Largest Menorah) at Grand Army Plaza that will be lit every night during the holiday. Location: Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn and Grand Army Plaza, intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway on Grand Army Plaza.
Seeing Santa: This can be a hit or miss experience for some kids, but if seeing Santa is on the top of your holiday to-do list you can enjoy the annual Town Square community event where you and your family can enjoy a brunch and then enjoy a parade with Santa to McCarren Park. Santa will also be dropping by the Brooklyn Lyceum during their Annual Holiday Marketplace and at Flatbush Avenue where he will be traveling via a trolley visiting local merchants in Brooklyn and delivering balloons, candy canes and cotton candy! Location: Town Square Event, Starts at 424 Leonard Street between Manhattan and Bayard Avenues, Brooklyn; Brooklyn Lyceum, 227 4th Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, North Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn.
Dyker Heights Image Via: Brooklyn Paper
Written by our fabulous new Brooklyn Community Manager, Serena Norr. Follow her on Twitter at RedRoverBKLYN. Serena lives in Brooklyn with her family and can also be found at Seriously Soupy and at MamaGoesNatural.
I’m not sure if you can tell, but we’re slightly obsessed with everything Seventh Generation in the Jordan household.
The obsession started when I was pregnant with my son and started to research how to have a healthier home. I needed cleaning products that didn’t have scary labels like this on the back of them:
You would think this bottle contained crazy hazmat chemicals only good for nuclear plant-type clean-ups. It is registered with the EPA for pete’s sake.
Not so, my friends. This is a bottle of cleaner (which shall remain nameless) that is in the v-e-r-y back of the cupboard from way back in the day, before I started to actually READ THE LABELS on things in my house.
Enter Seventh Generation: (cue the choir) a company committed to transparency and safety. They disclose ALL ingredients, and their plant-based products are free and clear of dyes, fragrances, and masking agents. Seventh Generation products, although not intended for consumption, aren’t poisonous. I love that.
Why is it important to use green cleaning products? So glad you asked.
Conventional cleaners contain many harmful substances: artificial fragrances, VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), harsh solvents, chlorine, ammonia, triclosan (antibacterial agent), petroleum-based derivatives, respiratory irritants, carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, and more.
(Ohmygosh are you hiding under the bed yet?!)
These toxic chemicals hang around on surfaces and in the air, eventually making their way onto your skin and into your lungs. Not only that, by they also make their way into our waterways. Natural cleaners work just as well as conventional ones, and don’t compromise the health of your family, pets, and one of most precious natural resources.
Now that I’ve gone all Debbie Downer on you, here are 5 helpful tips to get you started in your quest to clean a little greener:
1. Read labels.
If they look scary, chances are they ARE scary. Replace toxic chemical cleaners in your home with safer products. Like, yesterday.
2. Do your research.
Two of my favorite sites for keeping up-to-date with the latest in the green movement are healthychild.org and ewg.org. They will give you the ins and outs of how to live a greener, cleaner, and overall healthier life. My favorite green mom who kicks butt in the green research department? Kathy Scoleri. She rocks the SafeMama.com cheat sheets. Check them out for sure.
3. Make your own.
I bet you have a few products in your house that you didn’t even know could be used for some crazy-good cleaning. Orange peels? throw a few in the disposal to clean out the gunk and give your kitchen a nice, fresh scent. Baking soda? Sprinkle a little on the carpet before vacuuming or dump a cup in the washing machine to absorb odor. Baking soda can also substitute harsh abrasives meant for counters and tubs. Distilled white vinegar? Perfect for killing mold/bacteria and dissolving soap scum. I love to mix this with water to use as a glass cleaner, or use it undiluted to kill weeds. Hydrogen peroxide? Hello natural laundry bleaching agent and antimicrobial! Essential oils? Add these to the mix to get a healthier “clean” scent. I lurrve lemon, lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus to name a few. Craving more? Jennifer Taggart provides excellent DIY recipes on her blog TheSmartMama.com.
4. Beware of greenwashing.
Greenwashing: the act of leading you to believe (through deceptive marketing practices) that a product is green and the company behind it is committed to environmentally safer practices. Many marketing terms (natural, new and improved, green) are unregulated and the responsibility lies with you to research and decide if the green claims are actually true. If a product is colored apple-green and smells like pine trees, chances are it probably isn’t as green as the bottle would lead you to believe.
5. Vote with your dollars.
Choose to support companies making a commitment to producing safer chemicals. Eventually, when profits fall for the key players in the conventional cleaner industry, they will reformulate to safer products. Many have already begun to go greener, but still have a very long way to go.
In honor of Seventh Generation’s 1 million Facebook fans, they created an adorable little video tutorial on how to crate a cute monster out of a tissue box!
We’re so thrilled with the fabulous products over at Seventh Generation that we are giving away a huge set to one of you (Including some of the products above, plus tissues and others).
Leave a comment telling us one way in which you’ve introduced green products into your lives.
Share this giveaway on Facebook tagging RedRover and leave the link below!
Share this giveaway on Twitter, tagging @RedRover and leave a comment letting us know you did!
Contest runs from tonight Thursday October 18th until next Friday, October 26th at midnight, EST.
We were in no way compensated for this post by Seventh Generation and the above Seventh Generation items were all purchased by Titania Jordan (however the company sent some for our review for purposes of this post). All opinions are our own.
What are you doing this 4th of July?
Hopefully your Independence Day will be filled with family and friends enjoying delicious edibles copied from Pinterest and taking in some awe-inspiring fireworks shortly after the sun sets.
While you celebrate on Wednesday with parades, barbecues, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and memorial ceremonies, I’d like for you to also think about the Means family. Specifically, Ryan Means.
Ryan kept a journal in the days and years following the tragedy of 9/11. He documented the process by which he allowed his loss to drive him to greatness. Throughout his journey, he signed every email update with Neil Young’s hit title, “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World” showing the pride he had in his duty to protect our country.
An excerpt from his journal, “Perception is everything. As I walk down the streets and avenues of NYC, I see nothing but beauty and joyous life, sometimes so intense that my heart feels like it may explode. I’m unable to contain my goofy smile, and I struggle to contain my spontaneous laughter so as not to scare others. I love this city…this country.”
Ryan’s zest for soaking up every ounce that life had to offer was soon shared with a beautiful soul named Heather.
Knowing their relationship would be something extraordinary, Heather Means saved every email and handwritten letter that Ryan wrote to her from the day they met. Since the Special Forces soldier was often deployed, their relationship was captured in writing, leaving behind not just a memoir about the present day war, but a powerful family love story to be shared with the couple’s children (Elizabeth and Sophie) as well as the world.
This truly is a raw and inspirational story of modern day love and war filled with patriotism, courage and the strength of human will.
“Elizabeth & Sophie Means will thankfully never know the heart break we felt on the day that their father died. But sadly, they will never remember what it felt like to be held in his strong embrace. As their mother, I can only hope that this documentation of his life, as I knew it, will give them some sort of answers and peace in the coming years.”
“Ryan left us a handbook by which to live. We are forever grateful to have his words now that we can no longer have his embrace. He was a true American hero and I am honored to tell his story.”
- Heather Means
As we celebrate the founding of our country on Wednesday, we must also remember the great men and women who fought and continue to fight to ensure we keep on rockin’ in the free world.
My heartfelt thanks go out to Heather and the Means family for sharing Ryan’s story with us.
If you would like to read the profound novel written for Ryan’s daughters, RPM Rockin’ in the Free World, you may purchase it here. Profits from the book will go to help the Special Operations Warrior Foundation that provides scholarships for children of fallen special ops soldiers.
Who doesn’t have childhood memories of their beloved hometown library?
The library has always been the place for children — all children, from any and all backgrounds — to discover the magic of reading. New worlds are discovered, friends are made, and imaginations run wild. Libraries provide a haven for children to expand their minds through books. They meet new friends and connect with family members through the hundreds of programs that are held each year. They are also a place for parents to take classes and get involved in the community.
Team RedRover’s beloved hometown library, The New York Public Library, is facing a proposed $43 million cut (!), and they need your help to stop it. This cut would affect 8 million residents from a combined 212 locations and close 46 libraries around the city. Also, thousands of job and computer classes will be cancelled, books and DVDs will be cut by a third, hundreds of librarians and other staff will be laid off. With decreased funding up to 12 branches will be closed, and the rest will only be open 4 days a week.
The NYPL is a cornerstone of the New York City community serving as an invaluable resource for all of its members, and it is a cause that deserves all of our support.
We need to consider the affect that this will have on the NYPL’s biggest fans: children. First grader Beatrix Alevras like so many other little New Yorkers discovered a world of new books and ideas at her library. This cut comes at an especially unfortunate time because summer is when children and their parents flock to the library to escape boredom and take a break from the heat. Beatrix may have said it best for all of us, “The Library is my favorite place in the world.”
Protect the library for Beatrix and the thousands of other children around the city that will be affected. Speak up for your libraries. Sign a letter of support today!
I support the Library. You can too. Sign a letter today: http://ow.ly/b9pwi #ProtectNYPL
Hello, Rovers! It’s Titania, RedRover’s Roving Mom from Atlanta. If you’re like me, that special man in your life either already has everything or doesn’t want you to buy anything, ever, especially for him, which poses a problem come Father’s Day, every. single. year.
So, I am turning to Pinterest for creative and inspirational solutions to this annual pickle I find myself in.
Here are my top 10 DIY (low-to-no-cost) finds just in time for Sunday, June 17th. Yep, it’s THIS Sunday! Get cracking!
This card is perfect for the gadget-loving, app-downloading, tech-obsessed man in your life.
While this template can be purchased on Etsy, I am confident enough in my tree-trunk-drawing abilities to make my own version of this cute craft.
These answers have the potential to be nothing short of hilarious. For example, my son thinks my husband’s favorite food is brown food sticks. After a minute I finally realized he meant pretzels. Toddlers are so literal.
This one might just be my favorite.
While you have the option of purchasing these hip tees, the DIY route might be even better because it includes a little personal TLC. Buy a fresh pack of white tees, onesies, fabric paint, and paint some sharp matching ties for the adorable males in your life.
The perfect gift for short attention spans, all that’s required is a printer and crayons or markers. Easy cheesy.
I know, enough with the ties, but this is such a clean-cut look…and what else will you do with all that card stock? Just be careful with the buttons and wee ones; no choking hazards please!
Cue Steve Miller Band in the background and sing along as you tell him to go on, take the money and run.
How cute is this?!
I truly believe that paint color sample cards were created solely for the purpose of Pinterest-inspired crafts.
And there you have it. I’m hoping this page stays on the DL from my dad and husband long enough for me to surprise them…because they are the best dudes on the planet. I’m sure you feel the same way about the men in your life. Happy Father’s Day 2012!
Looking for an exciting adventure with the kids this weekend, but don’t want to travel far from the city? Venture out to Governor’s Island on June 9th and 10th and join RedRover’s very own Jessica Findley for a fun-filled bike ride with a twist. Kids will be transformed into cats, bubbles, and more by Aeolian Ride inflatable bike costumes as they cruise around Governor’s Island.
The event includes Kiddie Loops starting at 2pm and a Mini Parade to conclude the day where riders will have the chance to display their inflatable costumes and riding skills for all to see.
Schedule for Saturday, June 9th and Sunday, June 10th is as follows:
We will set up in an area where kids can wear a costume and ride in a loop as long as they wish.
Suit up for Mini Parade
Don a costume for a follow the leader ride around the island.
This event requires sign-up (bikes and costumes are limited), so make your reservation at www.aeolian-ride.info. Bike and Roll will be loaning out free bikes for those that sign up online. Children also have the option to bring their own bikes to the island. Children that do not reserve costumes may still participate in the Mini Parade.
This event is part of the annual Figment Weekend that celebrates participatory art and culture. Over 200 artists will have their interactive art featured, and there will be plenty of other activities for you and your child to enjoy throughout the weekend. Governor’s Island is only a short, free ferry ride away from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, so make your way out for what is sure to be a blow out.
Requirements to wear an Aeolian Ride inflatable costume:
- Riders must wear a helmet (the costumes don’t work without them)
- Do not wear large bags (these make the suits difficult to inflate)
- Please print, sign, and bring the waiver (if you don’t have a printer we will have some waivers, but bringing them signed helps signing in go much faster)
As a mother of three children, sometimes I find that the hardest thing for me to actually accomplish in a day is merely taking a shower. I daydream of getaways to the spa for treaments to nourish my weathering, undercared for skin in hopes of rescuing it from the damage of gravity, toxins and… Life.
The reality of my life as a busy parent and the lives of most of the mothers I know is there is rarely time for a spa trip, let alone a decent night’s sleep. For Mother’s Day this past weekend, we asked our community online via twitter what they most wanted for their special day and the majority of you said you wanted to be pampered-well, pampered and SLEEP.
Well, we listened!
We can’t help with the sleep part, but we want to celebrate all of you, so we’re giving away a set of essentials for a little home facial courtesy of our friends at Mama Mio.
Mama Mio is a skincare company started and run by four women in London that are dedicated to caring for women’s skin thorough the many stages of life, including pregnancy. Their formulas are comprised of the best ingredients at their highest potency, to make sure skin is FIT, toned, nourished and glowing. Mama Mio is effective, while employing a strict NO NASTIES policy. Every Mama Mio product is safe to use at any time from pregnancy stage to pensionable age. It is Paraben Free, Petrolatum Free, Sodium Laureth and Sodium Laurel Sulphate Free, Xenoestrogen and Phtalates Free, Colourant and Synthetic Fragrance Free.
We’re thrilled to team up with such an amazing brand to give away a set of full size face care essentials, valued at $119:
Leave a comment telling us how you pamper yourself.
Tweet the following: I’ve entered to win a face essentials gift set from @MamaMio via @RedRover here:”http://rovr.me/Kh2C2I” and leave a comment telling us you did!
Sweepstakes will run from today, May 13th until next Sunday, May 20th at midnight. Best of luck to you and I hope you had a great Mother’s Day!
***Update! Winner Chosen***
Congratulations to Nicole Toscano! You’ve won the Mama Mio skincare set! Congratulations!
Thank you to everyone who entered!
A few of us from RedRover had the pleasure of attending the Mom 2.0 Summit at the Ritz-Carlton in Key Biscayne, Florida this past weekend. Kathryn Tucker, our Founder and CEO spoke during the 12×7 keynote (that’s 12 speakers at 7 minutes each) on Friday as well as lent her expertise to a panel of four on Saturday. Jessica Shyba, our National Community Manager and founder of Momma’s Gone City moderated a panel featuring Gabrielle Blair of DesignMom, Nicole Feliciano of Momtrends and Karen Wolrond of Chookooloonks. Titania Jordan, our Atlanta Community Manager and founder of Atlanta Green Mom was also with us as we absorbed all we could via the great minds and vibrant personalities of parent-focused social media today.
It was three days of mind-expanding, soul inspiring, nearly record breaking moments that won’t soon be forgotten.
The venue wasn’t bad either.
The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne
Titania, Jessica and, most importantly…Beau!
We joined the ranks of some of the most influential bloggers, authors and entrepreneurs around and saturated the social media community with precious nuggets of wisdom.
And it was fun.
(This is fun.)
White parties and dinners with favorite power moms.
Personal stories of success and triumph. There may have been a few tears…
And even the Versace Mansion.
Which began elegantly enough…
…and ended with fun and a tribute to MCA.
Some of our favorite Mom2Summit tweets and takeaways:
@lizlange Totally gets it: Customer Service + Relatability + Style = Great Business
“Keeping it simple doesn’t mean it’s wrong. You have a niche and people will come back for that.” –
“What do you do when you reach your astronaut ballerina dream?” –
“My vision was bigger than my fear.” Yes!
“Most people will have a story that will break your heart. Most people will have a story that will bring you to your knees.” –
@brenebrown @LOD: All the great ideas are NOT taken. Idle thoughts can become BIG movements. @justicefergie “I am Multi-Passionate.” Yes. This. @Mom101 “A blog comment is greater than a tweet. What you’re leaving is a legacy.”
We even received the amazing news that RedRover was yet again featured in the app store through Mother’s Day. Good stuff happens in clusters, it seems.
We couldn’t have been more thrilled to have been there to not only learn, be inspired and network, but also to give a sneak peek of the brand-spanking-new version of RedRover that is going to hit this summer! Stay tuned to read Kathryn Tucker’s speech — it will be published here and elsewhere in the next few weeks.
Mom 2.0 Summit was the perfect place for us to share our little-BIG-secret. Our app is all about networking, supporting families and parenting communities everywhere and even empowering women and mothers. Especially working mothers–something all three of us know a little about.
Narrated by Meryl Streep? Check.
Music by Sir Paul McCartney? Check.
Tug at your heartstrings storyline? Check.
Breathtaking scenery that you will probably never see in person in your lifetime? Check.
“To The Arctic” was a beautiful and thought-provoking IMAX movie we had the pleasure of enjoying this past weekend at the always awesome Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Not only that, but professional nature and wildlife photographer Florian Schulz was on site to answer questions and sign his book from the expedition. He spent many cold months on the sea ice searching for the perfect polar bear shots. I’d say he had a very successful journey.
According to the film, by 2050 there will be no more summertime ice for the polar bears. Not only does this cause them to have to swim for DAYS at a time to find food, but the food and life that permeate the water may no longer be there as the ice serves as a reflective shield for the sun’s warm rays. Think about that next time you jump in your gas guzzler. (Which, by the way, I am totally guilty of owning at one time or another.)
As a mother, there were a few scenes in the movie that really tugged at the heartstrings (I know, I said that already, but it fits) and cut deep to the core of the mama bear mentality. I asked Florian how it feels to witness potentially dangerous situations and how does one decide when to intervene and when to let nature take its sometimes painful course. You have to hear his story about finding a freezing baby caribou:
Now it’s your turn to experience the remote landscape and diverse wildlife of the Arctic (almost) firsthand.
Leave a comment on our Facebook Page to win a Family Four Pack (4 general admission Museum tickets and 4 IMAX tickets for “To The Arctic”) to Fernbank Museum of Natural History, one of our favorite places in Atlanta to explore and have fun! Winner chosen 4/27.
If you’re like us, you have to-do lists and checklists galore (and possibly to-do lists for the to-do lists). We know that there’s nothing more satisfying than crossing things off of said lists, but that’s easier said than done. Life is busy and these things get put off.
Enter Done., a virtual marketplace recently launched in the New York area (other cities coming later this year) that just might connect you with a highly-skilled pastry chef for your wedding or an organization-savvy neighbor to help you photograph and upload the contents of your closet (and color-code the non-digital version thereafter).
The brainchild of three former MIT roommates, the website is built around the idea of strengthening local community in a city of anonymity. Done. requires Doers to be background-checked and vetted through their Facebook account, so it’s kind of like a much friendlier Craigslist. Broadening the global village theme, for every task that gets done on Done., the founders will make a donation through UNICEF for a task to be done for a child in need—like a polio vaccination or purifying 250 liters of drinking water.
Sound pretty great? Well, why don’t you try it with this awesome special exclusively for New York Rovers?
Some ideas for you:
Have Steven teach your child guitar, bass, flute, oboe, piano, saxophone, or clarinet www.done.com/StevenL
Get the neighborhood kids together with Hannah for a make-your-own-cupcake party www.done.com/Hannah-Kirshner
Want a babysitter who is an experienced childcare expert and runs a reading center for kids? Hire Daisy www.done.com/dairodm
There’s even a clown for your next birthday party www.done.com/glenheroy
There are tons of other folks who can help out with kids, cooking, cleaning, and more. Click this link for more ideas: Help With My Family on Done.
All the Doers are background checked, endorsed and reviewed, and they’ve met the Done. team in person. Pretty great, right? Get out your pen and to-do list because you’re armed to take care of business. And now you can do more fun things with your family with your newly found free time.
Done. is doing good in NYC and across the globe. Now it’s your turn. What can Done. help you get done?
Welcome to Jaunt, the RedRover Company blog. We know you're busy parents, so thanks for making time to stop by.