Joanie Takes June

 

Babies Gotta Have It favorite Joanie Leeds is dropping a new CD on June 25th (like my fancy music biz lingo?).  We got a sneak preview of “Bandwagon,” and just like her previous CD “I’m a Rock Star” this one is a big hit at our house!  This totally delightful collection of songs mixes musical styles and themes, all while exploring kid-friendly ideas with parent-enjoyable melodies and lyrics (I especially love the Ferris Bueller reference in “Back to School”).  Bean’s favorite is “Are We There Yet” – a rocking tribute to that oft-quoted road-trip mantra.  I love “I Love New York” for obvious reasons…but also because along with the familiar landmarks, this super cool rap/chanting/groovy song mentions such insider destinations as the opera, the High Line, MSG, the Central Park Carousel and SOHO.  And it kinda reminds me of that 1980s anthem “Mickey.”  Which is enjoyable.  Also love the beautiful song “My Family Tree,” a lyrical tribute to the beauty of family.

Sirius/XM’s Kids Place Live Program Director Mindy Thomas has said that “Joanie Leeds is that cool babysitter who would let you try on her lip gloss once your mom left the house. You idolized her, and your mom knew she could trust her. That’s Joanie. Only she’s also likely to completely ROCK THE ROOF OFF YOUR HOUSE!”

Want to get to know Joanie for yourself?  Well, you’re in luck!  Starting on June 2nd, Joanie will release 14 new videos on her YouTube Channel.  Each video is inspired by a song from “Bandwagon.”  The series kicks off with “I Love New York” so that’s cool. Check out Joanie’s Facebook page for updates and keep a look out for all 14 music videos on her YouTube channel, with new ones added on alternate days.

You can find Joanie’s CDs on her website or on our affiliate, Amazon.com.  And if you’re lucky you can catch Joanie in concert in your hometown soon!  Keep an eye on her upcoming events and facebook page to see when Joanie and the Nighlights will be in your area!


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Yezz We Can…For Free! Quinny Stroller Giveaway!

In New York, nothing comes for free.  We pay more for a monthly parking space than most people pay in rent.  And don’t get me started on sandwiches.  It’s a ridiculous place to live, let alone to try to raise children.  There’s an ad now for Manhattan Mini Storage on all the bus shelters:

 

That’s pretty much it.

But then a little miracle happened.  Quinny decided to try to make our urban lives just a bit easier.  First, they designed and made a new stroller, the Yezz (not to be confused with Yaz…that’s TOTALLY different) which is an 11 pound, easily foldable, durable stroller that comes with a carrying strap.   Thank you for understanding that light and sturdy are essential qualities in folding strollers.  Because you better believe you gotta collapse that thing when you get on the bus.

And then yesterday they gave it away.  Yup.  Just handed ’em out for free.  400 New Yorkers stood in line at stores like Giggle and Albee Baby and walked away with a fab new stroller. For nothin’.

Here are photos to prove that this unbelievably nice thing actually happened right here in New York City.

And, Quinny is so eager for folks beyond our great dirty city to get a chance to test-drive the Yezz, they’re giving me one to give away to you!  Yup.  Also for free.

Here’s another pic so you can see what you’ll be winning (color subject to availability).  Yeah, you so want this stroller.

So thanks Quinny.  For bringing some civility to the city that never sleeps.  At least now we know our babies will be sleeping in their awesome new strollers!

Want to enter to win a brand new Quinny Yezz for babies ages 6 months to 40 pounds?  Just fill out the handy Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Babies Gotta Have It is an Amazon.com affiliate.

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Peg + Cat are Coming to PBS Kids

Peg + Cat New PBS Series for Preschoolers

 

I think a new PBS Kids series is kind of always a cause for celebration. But one that is produced by the Fred Rogers Company, stars a spunky little girl and her cat, and teaches early math skills through hilarious adventures? Maybe that’s cause for a Wednesday morning party!

Peg + Cat, coming in October 2013 to PBS Kids was co-created by folks who previously worked on “The Wonder Pets” and Broadway’s “Rent.” Not a bad pedigree! It introduces a new heroine for our little girls, Peg, and her sidekick Cat. The two pals embark upon crazy adventures to such locales as purple planets, Radio City Music Hall and even Romeo and Juliet’s 16th century Verona. Peg and Cat inevitably end up in a jam and have to use their smarts and some math skills to solve a challenge and save the day. The show will premiere with a one hour broadcast of two episodes on Monday October 7th, but you can already find Peg and Cat online. Play some games. Spend the summer getting to know them. This is one little gal who I think could become a very good friend.

This post originally appeared on Catybean.com!

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Mike the Knight – A Great Book Hero

Looking for a great book series for your preschool boy? Kristin and her sons received the new Mike the Knight series from Simon & Schuster to check out…here’s her review! Thanks Mike!

Have you dreamt of being a knight or a lady, living in a castle, casting magic spells, and playing with dragons?  Have you had visions of long flowing dresses, and men on horseback?  My son CW frequently pretends he has his own pet dragon…that is when he’s not being a pirate.

Right on cue, the brand new Mike the Knight books and coloring book arrived at our house!  In a period of time where my just-turned-five-year-old boy is excited about dragons and pirates, knights and trolls, this book series could not have arrived soon enough!  CW was ecstatic when he saw what was in the box.  And, he has been “reading” the books to himself ever since.  We read them together, our babysitter read them to him, his grandparents read them to him, and now he sits and “reads” them every morning.  I call that a win!

 

The books highlight Mike’s good deeds (like in “Mike the Knight and the Good Deed”), which has CW looking for ways to be a good knight too.  This means he attempts to make his bed, carry his plate to the sink, and be nice to his brother.  There is even a great board book for his little brother, “Mike and the Dragons” which introduces Mike, Squirt, and Sparkie.

“Mike and Trollee in Trouble” (a Level 1 Reader perfect for my new reader) teaches the importance of friendship and teamwork.  Mike and his dragons, Sparkie and Squirt, work together to get Mike’s friend Trollee out of trouble.

 The coloring book went with us to the doctor this past week, and kept both boys happy for our 45-minute wait and appointment.  The app is now loaded and ready to go on the iPad, and we may even buy some of the Mike the Knight figures with our birthday gift cards!  You can even buy a mini set of the books here for $6.29!

When your child is begging you to read, “reading” to himself, and playing knight, you will be so happy you picked up some of these amazing books!  And if you want some great computer activities, check out Mike the Knight online!  At $3-$7, you can’t go wrong with a few Mike the Knight books for birthday gifts or “just because!”

 

photo10 150x150 A Glowing Review for the Global GlowballKristin is a former high school English teacher and show choir geek enjoying time as a stay-at-home mom to CW and little brother MD.

Babies Gotta Have It received these books for purposes of review.  As always, all opinions are Kristin and her boys and weren’t influenced by anyone.  Babies Gotta Have It is an Amazon affiliate.

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Disney Storytime Apps – A Library of Fun!

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Disney Story apps.  I love the Disney Classics Storybook apps for the extended playtime and quiet storytelling.  Well, we recently had a chance to review the new Disney Storytime app, and it is a great addition to the Disney apps collection.

The Disney Storytime app is a virtual bookshelf of Disney picture books for your child containing the largest collection of Disney stories to date.  And a neat function allows your child to choose the books you purchase to add to your collection.  So how does it work?  When you buy the app ($1.99 on iTunes, for iPhone and iPad) you receive three stories: Toy Story: Starry Night, Tangled: Rapuzel’s Story and  Monsters, Inc.: Always Time for a Laugh.  Once it has downloaded, Mom and Dad can go into the app and purchase credits which kids can use to add more stories to the bookshelf.  Two stories for $2.99, 5 stories for $4.99, or the remaining 17 stories for $8.99.  Your kids can then choose books they’d like and download them for the credits you have purchased.  Pretty cool!

The stories themselves are pretty good, and range from retellings of the movies to simple tales containing those movie characters you know and love.  The art is lovely, of course.  Each page will play a sound effect when you tap on the picture–the qualities of those range from really neat to a little baffling.  And as in all of the Disney story apps, your child can choose to have the story read to her, or to read it herself.  And of course my favorite feature…have you always dreamed of recording audio books?  Well, with these apps, you can record your own voice reading the whole book.  Really fun for you, and especially neat for your kid if you’re away on business or out of town for the weekend.  Or maybe even have Grandma record a few when she’s in town for a neat surprise.

The new Disney Storytime app–a nice addition to the Disney apps collection, and a must have if your little one is a diehard Disney fan.

Thanks to Disney for providing us with this app to review.  As always, all opinions are my own and my child’s and you better believe weren’t influenced by anyone.

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Get Outside AND Plug In with Ranger Rick Apps – Giveaway!

Spring has sprung here in the Northeast.  Are your kids as eager to get outside as my little Bean is? There are some pretty ingenious folks out there inventing super cool interactive kids’ apps to integrate technology with the great outdoors, and I think it’s a fantastic idea.  I firmly believe that the ultimate goal is to have our little ones outside getting their feet wet and their hands dirty.  But if we can supplement that outdoor play with educational technology then I’m absolutely all for it.  And on those rainy days, your kids can still get their outdoor fix by exploring nature digitally!

We were given a few apps to try out by the lovely folks at the National Wildlife Federation and we’re definitely  fans!  The Ranger Rick’s Treehouse app is a neat new digital magazine your kids will love to explore.  Though it is designed for kids ages 7-12, my little 5 3/4 year old has been having a fantastic time reading it and she loves earning the badges!  This iPad magazine (available on Newsstand) has articles organized by rooms in a tree house!  Each room is packed with real-life animal videos, comic adventures, multi-level games, goofy jokes, nature crafts, wildlife mysteries, and opportunities for kids to earn badges.  We read one issue together and she had a ball answering the questions about each article to earn her badges.  Additional badges are earned by spending time in the great outdoors and recording your activities in the journal in “Rick’s backyard.”  She opened the second issue on her own in the car and was able to read the section on grizzly bears, answer the question, and earn a badge all on her own!  The games are fun and age appropriate. And Bean loves all of the jokes!

We also received the Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures app which is designed for preschoolers and kids ages 4 – 7.  It isn’t compatible with my old school first generation iPad–so we downloaded it to Daddy’s newer device and haven’t had a chance to explore it fully.  But if it’s anything like the Backyard magazine I know we’ll love it.  This new iPad story app lets young kids use cutting-edge technology to explore, create, and play their way through incredible animal adventures. Every Appventure includes an interactive photo story, engaging games, and creative play activities—all centered around a specific animal. The first one in the series opens with a ROAR as mascot Ricky Raccoon and his friend Lars the Lion take children on a trip to the African grasslands. There they discover how lions spend their days, raise their young, and much more!

Digital nature apps for kids that encourage them to get out and explore the world! That’s something kiddos definitely gotta have.

These apps are available on iTunes and will actually be on sale for $1.99 a piece from April 22 – 29 in celebration of Earth Day.  Also, thanks to the awesome folks at the National Wildlife Federation we’re giving five readers the Ranger Rick Jr. Appventure for iPad 2 or higher, absolutely free!  Want to enter!  Just use the handy rafflecopter entry below!  Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received the Ranger Rick’s Treehouse and Ranger Rick Jr. Appventure apps free for purposes of review. As always, my opinions are entirely my own and you better believe weren’t influenced by anyone.

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A Toy To Make Your Little Girl Squeal

 

It’s one of the reasons we have children, don’t you think?  To be the person who gives them the big beautiful present that makes them scream like, well…like little girls.

With the Our Generation I Think I Canter playset, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll do absolutely that. Don’t believe me?  Check out the video above.

Our Generation is Target’s version of the 18″ doll world, and I think it’s a pretty big success for the price.  Especially if you want to give your preschooler an 18″ doll but you don’t feel like spending a fortune on it…because let’s face it.  You know your three-year-old’s dolly will end up in the sandbox and fingerpainted (oh I’m sorry that’s “makeup!”) and probably get a haircut at some point.  And Our Generation really has a nice collection of toys.  The I Think I Canter set, for girls ages 3 and up, comes with a LOT. The doll is very pretty–nice hair and a sweet face.  The horse is absolutely gorgeous.  And then there are a ton of accessories.  You know, if your little girl is into that.

Check out the video.  Check out the Our Generation sets at Target.  I also love the Off the Beaten Path camping set–because I’m totally into camping toys for girls.  That’s the one I would have chosen.  But I knew my Bean would flip for the pony.  And she did.

Our Generation play sets. Girls gotta have em.  And Mamas, you’re gonna love the price.

Thanks to Our Generation for sending us the I Think I Canter Playset to review.  As always all opinions are absolutely my own and my daughter’s and you better believe were not influenced by anyone.

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Mama Wants Outdoor Gear – The Showers Pass Biking Jacket

I like flowers.  I like candy.  I like nice dinners and jewelry and all that.

But this year, I want gear for Mother’s Day.  Lately I’ve become something of a cyclist.  I know! Who would have guessed?  But I loved biking as a kid.  This tomboy was inseparable from her bike from the day I got my first brown Huffy three speed until my kick-ass Peugeot sadly waved goodbye as I drove off to college. And then somehow, I stopped.  No one biked at my school.  I moved to New York in the pre-bike lane years.  During my first few months in the city I witnessed a pretty nasty encounter between a bike messenger and a taxi in Soho.  Years passed…

And then two years ago we took a summer vacation to Cape May and rented bikes.  Cuz that’s what you do at Cape May.  You rent bikes.  And I felt like I was reunited with a long lost friend.  Since then Doc Hubby and I bought ourselves mountain bikes.  We got an awesome Trek trail-a-bike for the Bean on Craig’s List in New Hampshire.  And we are kind of unstoppable.  I still don’t like to ride on the streets, but I think Rails-to-Trails is one of the greatest things to happen to this country ever.  And then a group of terrific Moms at Bean’s preschool invited me to spin with them and I am hooked.  I cannot say how this happened because I pretty much do not like to be pushed physically…ever.  But I go twice a week and pedal very hard to very loud music and sweat a lot and go nowhere.  But it’s fun!

So.  When the lovely folks at Showers Pass wrote to me to ask if I wanted to test out their new Elite 2.1 biking jacket I responded yes within about forty five seconds of receiving their message.

We have purchased some bike gear.  We have camelback water carriers and I got some cool gloves at LL bean.  We bought some padded shorts and I got a really neat skirt.  But I had nothing for cool weather until I got my new jacket and I LOVE IT!  I love it so much I am going to show you this photo of me wearing it yesterday at 5 pm when we went for the first bike-ride of the season and the temperature was about 52, even though I had spent all day working in the yard and I hadn’t showered and I look kind of hideous.  The jacket looks GREAT!  And you’ll note, the black design on the sides makes you look super skinny!

And let me tell you, the Showers Pass Elite 2.1 jacket is absolutely awesome.  Yesterday was cool and crisp with a bit of a wind.  I am always cold.  Always.  I layered the jacket with a fleece and a wicking layer, and I couldn’t have been more comfortable.  I zipped it all the way up to my chin, but the inside of the neck has this incredibly soft micro-chamois lining–delicious.  And you can cinch the collar and the waist even more if you so desire.  The seams are all taped for wind and waterproofness and the sleeves are tapered to your wrist and secure with velcro.  There were no cool breezes getting in at all!  Oh and it’s waterproof.  Which we didn’t need yesterday thank goodness.  But I love it.

So say I had gotten hot on the trip…well the Elite jacket is ready for that too!  It’s got all kinds of vents including those vents under the arms that you can unzip to air out.  And…wait for it…a chest pocket with an audio port for your phone.

This is, no doubt, the coolest jacket I own.  In a way, this jacket has thrown down.  It’s challenging me from over there on the hook –urging me to get off my butt and get out on the trails.

“Wendy,” It says.  “Can you possibly be as cool a cyclist as I am a jacket?”

Yes Elite 2.1…I am up to the challenge.  And oh yeah, if you want to get one for Daddy for Father’s Day the mens version is pretty hot too.  I think Doc Hubby would look darned good in one.

A Mother’s Day gift that challenges you to be as cool as it is?  That’s something this cycling-Mama’s definitely gotta have.

Thanks to Showers Pass for sending me Elite 2.1 Jacket for review.  As always, all opinions are strictly my own and sure as heck weren’t influenced by anyone.  Babies Gotta Have It is an Amazon affiliate.

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Get to Know Your Neighbors with Babybuds! Baby Toy Giveaway!

It’s Earth Month!

Even though my baby is far from infancy, I still get so excited when I hear about a new line of eco-friendly baby products.  And a new line of eco-friendly baby products that’s available at a Target near you… is super exciting.  Though you guys know I’m a huge fan of local independent toy stores (SHOP LOCAL!), knowing that the big box boys are offering safe, green toys to customers shows how much traction the eco-friendly toy movement is gaining in the marketplace.  And how accessible and affordable these toys are becoming.

So. Friends? Meet Babybuds.  I just received these two in the mail: The Hoot the Owl Blanket Buddy and Frump the Elephant Rattle (he doesn’t look so frumpy to me!).  First of all, green or no, any Babies Gotta Have It pick has to be super cute.  Check!  I love the gender-neutral earth tones and animals.  We all know how hot owls are these days in nursery decorating.  The faces are sweet and the fabrics are soft.  So let’s discuss those fabrics!  According to the Babybuds website:

BabyBuds™ are made with love, using naturally sustainable, eco-friendly fabrics, including certified organic cottons and natural silks. And each BabyBuds™ toy is filled with virgin biodegradable corn fiber. We use only low impact dyes, and minimal packaging.

Every BabyBuds™ product is made with the safety of your little human BabyBud as our first concern. Every BabyBuds™ product is free from harmful chemicals, and complies with the strictest global safety standards.

And that, my friends, makes me stand up and cheer!

So where will our two little critters go to live?  We are lucky enough to have a new baby next door.  We don’t know his parents very well (after all this is New York, folks), but the new baby has been a great ice-breaker for us with them.  Cate was so excited to meet him a few weeks ago, and we decided then that it would be a really nice thing to take him a gift.  I feel comfortable and confident giving these toys to our neighbors, knowing that they are safe. For baby and for the planet.

Baby toys that fussy New Yorkers can feel really good giving to the people living next door to them that that hardly know?  That’s something savvy Mamas definitely gotta have!

If you want to go from “Say-hello-in-the-elevator-acquaintances” to actual friends with your new-parent neighbors check out the store finder on the Babybuds website to find the closest store to you!

And thanks to the wonderful folks at Babybuds, one lucky Babies Gotta Have It reader will win a pair of adorable Babybuds toys of their very own!  Just use the easy Rafflecopter entry below to qualify!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Babybuds for sending us the two items pictured above to review and then give to our neighbors.  As always, all opinions are strictly my own and you better believe were in no way influenced by anyone. 

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A Glowing Review for the Global Glowball

When the box with the B. Toys logo arrived at our front step the other day, the boys and I were elated.  We have a ton of B. Toys (B. Wheeee-ls, B. Zany Zoo, B. Doctor to name a few), and they never fail to entertain us.  Well, B. Toys has done it again (and this one just might be our favorite of all time).

The Global Glowball is a globe, it’s a nightlight, it’s a music player, and it’s a ball.  Each of the continents can be pushed to play music, or you can use the compass-dial to select music, music and lights, or just lights.  If you want to use the Global Glowball as a nightlight, then select lights and it will rotate through all of the continents with a subtle, colorful, and beautiful glow.  Or, you can select music and lights to receive a 20-minute musical tour of the world as colorful lights glow on and off to the tempos! As usual, B. Toys has thought of everything.  There is a volume control, and the “B” can be pushed to stop the music and lights at any time (they suggest global freeze tag…not a bad idea)!

 

Designed for kids ages 8 months and up, the Global Glowball even comes with a little booklet that describes each of the songs that are played.  Perhaps, we could suspend our own notions about each continent, and allow our children to enjoy the cultural differences of others.  Perhaps, we could enjoy a little “African Sunshine” or “Banjo Matilda.”  My kids love the “Music from the Ice” that plays from Antartica!  They are excited to hear the penguins, wind, and ocean sounds.  The Global Glowball has even been known to take up residence at our dinner table to give us “mood music.”

 

CW and MD are still fighting over who gets to play with the Global Glowball (maybe I should order another).  CW (nearly 5) asks probing questions about each of the continents, the types of music, and what the terrain is like.  MD (nearly 2), on the other hand, loves to make the music start and stop, dance to the beats, and roll the globe around.  Luckily, it is made with just that kind of play in mind (it is both sturdy and fun)!

 

And, for the parents, you can be satisfied that you have bought a B. Toy which represents the world accurately, and is also made with the world in mind.  All B. Toys are packaged in 100% recyclable/reusable materials!  So, you can save the planet while you play!

 

Buy one.  Or two.  It is a learning tool disguised as a fun ball!  Your kids will love it, and so will you!

photo10 150x150 Nine Naturals: Pampering for Pregnancy and BeyondKristin is a former high school English teacher and show choir geek enjoying time as a stay-at-home mom to CW and little brother MD.

Thanks to B. Toys for sending Kristin and her boys the Global Glowball  to review.  As always, all opinions are Kristin’s alone and weren’t influenced by anyone.

Babies Gotta Have It is an Amazon Affiliate.

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