Monthly Archives: October 2010
Wally & I are really excited about today’s Fun Friday because we get to share with you our adventure to unlocking imagination. Yesterday we had the opportunity to go to the new Disney Imagination Center® in downtown Chicago. The Imagination Center is very different from the “regular” Disney stores you have been to. As a matter of fact, it integrates experiences that you could have in Disney World® or Disneyland®.
The Disney Imagination Center is built around unlocking your imagination. Wally & I loved this aspect of the center because as we have learned from studies, developing your child’s imagination is key to many other developmental milestones. (Wally was very excited about it because his baby activity center helps your baby with play and imagination at a very young age.) There are many different ways to unlock your imagination and the Disney Imagination Center excels at it.
We arrived in time for the opening ceremony. The Disney Imagination Center doesn’t just open their doors, they open imagination from the very start of the day. The opening ceremony is a lot of fun. We don’t want to ruin the surprise of all that happens in the ceremony, but there is A LOT of participation from the crowd.
Wally and I then walked down the pixie dust trail left by Tinker Bell. We stopped at the princess castle where we got to pick which princess we wanted to meet. We picked Cinderella and received her special wand. Once we went through the castle and waved the wand before the magic mirror, Cinderella appeared and told us her story!
Wally and I then spent some time coloring in the Imagination Center theater where we also watched some of our favorite Disney movies. You get to pick from a wide variety of movies and see on the mini-screen the countdown to when your selected movie will play.
In the Imagination Center theater, kids who are young and old have the opportunity to learn to draw with Woody, attend story hour, and be part of all sorts of activities that unleash their imaginations.
The cast members were so helpful and fun. When I asked Miguel, who was a team leader, what was their biggest hope for people who visit the Disney Imagination Center he responded, “We want kids of all ages to experience magic for at least 30 minutes.” From the pixie trail to the magical trees that have hidden Mickey Mouses and more, it truly was a magical experience.
We also loved how the Disney experience is designed to customize a guest’s experiences and make every visit special, from the interactive displays and changing lights and media clips shown on the LED light trees to the events and so much more. (We also applaud Disney for being socially conscious & using energy saving lights. Applaud, Applaud)
Before we left, the cast put up a special message in the theater. (They asked who my favorite character was & I told them Alice.)
Wally and I celebrated my unbirthday Disney style with song and fireworks in the trees!
We give the Disney Imagination Center 10 stars. There are a lot of these new Disney stores popping up around the country -just check out the Disney website for the one nearest you!
And we brought a little of the Disney magic home for our Kolcraft fans. Leave a comment about which Disney character unlocks your child’s imagination and why and you will be entered to win a $25.00 Disney Gift Certificate. Contest ends at 7am CST on November 2nd.
Our day started by meeting Meri-Margaret from the National Wildlife Federation. What an amazing woman! If you missed our interview with her, you can read it here. The National Wildlife Association has some AMAZING events coming up which has Kolcraft VERY excited. (Stay tuned for more on that at a later date.) Wally and Meri-Margaret hit it off and are BFF’s now. We captured their meeting on camera, but since Wally hasn’t had his official debut we had to protect his identity.
Wally and I then took a stroll over to the Disney Imagination Center. It was an amazing morning. Wally and Jiminy Cricket were inseparable. (Must be a bug thing.) Wally loved that he could spend time coloring. He was bashful around the princesses, but you can see he picked their page to color.
It was hard to pull Wally Wonderbug out of the Disney Imagination Center especially when the Mickey Mouse cartoons started playing…
There are great things happening around Kolcraft! You already know of our Trick or Treat for baby products, our Changing Wally contest and soon we will be telling you more about the great things happening with NWF and of course the Disney Imagination Center.
Make sure that you read our blog tomorrow for Fun Friday. It will be a Friday of imagination, magic and more prizes!
You may remember our post about the new exciting “someone” buzzing around Kolcraft. You will notice that for the next few months, Wally Wonderbug will be trying out new outfits & will be changing scenery. (Wally loves to dress up & have fun. Just wait until your kids meet him!) Because Wally is such a generous Wonderbug, you win prizes every time he changes!
It’s Easy To Win!
- Every time you notice that Wally changes, send us an email at BabyMatters@kolcraft.com and you will be entered to win monthly prizes ranging from baby products to gift certificates.
- The place to see Wally change will be at www.kolcraft.com – be sure to check back often because you never know when Wally will make a change!
- Winners will be selected at the end of each month.
Keep your eye on Wally because he is your guide to winning prizes!
It’s that time of year again when there are runny noses and scratchy throats as cold & flu season begins. A natural remedy for your child’s scratchy throat is as close as your cabinet!
A study at Penn State College of Medicine found that honey was more effective than cough medicine for treating a child’s cough. Honey coats the back of the throat soothing it and stifling coughs.*
What are some of your favorite natural remedies to fight cold & flu from getting the best of your child?
*Because honey can cause botulism in infants, never give it to a child under a year of age. As always be sure to check with your pediatrician when your child is sick.
We have had fun getting to know some great moms, dads and grandparents during our Mom Monday interviews. We have met moms who are:
- new moms
- seasoned moms
- single moms
- moms of children with special needs
- working moms
- stay at home moms
- adoptive moms
We have some wonderful mom interviews for the next few weeks, but we wanted to reach out to you & see if you would like to see a mom interviewed who is dealing with a particular issue or has a special talent, etc. If you have some feedback, we would like to hear from you! Just leave a comment and let us know who you want featured next on Mom Monday.
And don’t forget our Fun Friday Trick or Treat for baby products contest!
Who says trick or treating is only for candy? At Kolcraft we are hosting a trick or treat for baby products on our website! By following the clues and “hunting” through our website for the Halloween icon embedded into a product image (be sure to look at all the images) you will find your way to winning one of the following baby products in fashionable Fierce orange!
How it works:
- Read the clues in this blog post
- Search for the icons on our website
- When you find the icons, send us an email at BabyMatters@kolcraft.com with the links where you found the icons
- You will automatically be entered to win one of our hauntingly fashionable baby products!
- Contest ends on Friday, October 29th at midnight CST
- You receive one entry for each icon you find. Winner will be chosen by random.org
Kolcraft believes in manufacturing the best in innovative baby products and one way we fuel our creativity is through food smackdowns where we pick a theme, cook up a storm, taste test and vote.
The theme of this last smackdown was Fall Fruit. It was hard to pick a winner since we had a variety of treats ranging from fall fruit crisps, upside down apple pie, apple strudel and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to name a few. The winner was Bonnie in our fashion department who made the yumalicious (yes, that is the correct word to describe this recipe) Apple-Pecan Cheesecake!
Bonnie shared her recipe with us. We know it will be a hit with your family too!
- 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 4 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
- 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar, divided
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 eggs
- 3 apples, peeled, chopped
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Heat oven to 325°F
- Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Mix crumbs, butter and 2 Tbsp. brown sugar; press onto bottom of pan.
- Beat cream cheese, 1 cup brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust. Combine remaining brown sugar, apples, nuts and cinnamon; spoon over batter.
- Bake 55 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours. Use foil handles to lift cheesecake from pan before cutting to serve.
Do you have any Fall fruit recipes to share with us? We would be happy to try them out in our Kolcraft kitchen!
Princesses, ghosts and other creatures will soon be going house to house for trick or treating. Whether your child is dressing up as a cuddly or a creepy critter, a few Halloween tips can keep this holiday from being a scary one.
- Makeup vs Masks – Make sure your child’s costume is safe. Masks tend to inhibit vision which can be especially dangerous for little ones who are already a bit unsteady on their feet. A great alternative is to use age-appropriate makeup instead of a mask.
- When the Sun Sets – If your child is trick or treating at night, be sure he has reflective tape on his costume, a flashlight and knows safety rules before he heads out.
- Costume Material - Your little girl couldn’t look more precious as a sparkling princess, but nothing will make her Halloween more scary than an itchy costume. Be sure to try it on beforehand and if the netting or material is itchy, see if leggings, tights or a shirt underneath will take away the scratchy feeling.
- Simplicity is Key – Cumbersome costumes on your little one can make it more difficult for him to enjoy Halloween. If he is tied down by an intricate costume you will be spending more time fixing it than allowing him to just have fun. A simple outfit will make him feel dressed up but still free to play and enjoy the holiday.
- Size Matters – Costumes that are too long- whether that be a long dress, cape, or accessory- can be a tripping hazard for little ones.
- Little Ms. or Mr. Manners – Halloween is a great time to reinforce manners by making sure your child always says “thank you” after he receives his Halloween treats. If your child grabs a handful of candy instead of one piece, remind her of the importance of sharing with the other children who are trick or treating.
What tips do you have for a safe and fun Halloween?
The toddler years are filled with growth and new discoveries. While your toddler discovers her voice and learns new vocabulary, her favorite word may fast become, “NO!” With every “no” your toddler is finding and asserting her independence. While this is a natural growth stage, it can try your patience on your more frazzled days.
A wonderful way to divert from the stream of “no’s” is to give your toddler a choice between two options so she feels that she has some independence.
- Would like Cheerios or fruit for breakfast?
- Would you like to walk and hold mommy’s hand or be in your stroller?
- Would you like to take a nap or have a time out?
Be creative, tap into your parenting genius and you will see you can reel in your toddler’s string of “no’s.”
What creative toddler tips do you have?
We are really excited about our Mom Monday because we just returned from our ABC show in Vegas and had the opportunity to meet this mom in person. Actually we met her for the first time at BlogHer conference in NYC and were counting down the days until we got to see her again! We are happy to share with you, an interview with MomSpotted!
J. Leigh Designz was created to show more photos for the scrapbooking items I was selling on Etsy. They only allowed five photos so I used the blog to showcase the full product. On Fridays I would showcase a different Etsy seller and one day I was pitched to do a review. I was instantly hooked. Through the last year and a half my blog evolved and just this month I took a big leap and switched to WordPress and changed my blog name to Mom Spotted. I don’t know HTML and I was getting a lot of requests for design work and though a mom blog name would be more fitting.
Online forums, such as Mom Dot, have allowed me to build closer connections with other bloggers. I really believe that when bloggers work together they are stronger. Nevermind the great friendships you’ll build along the way.
My Ambassador programs started by creating long standing relationships with the companies. Kolcraft & Wilton are my favorites! I love getting to know the people behind the title or company and when you do you connect on a different level then a professional one. When you see the compassion behind a company it makes you truly want to stand behind them.
What has been the most helpful when connecting with other moms?
I love connecting with other moms! While I use my blog daily to talk with my readers I enjoy the the back & forth I get from Facebook and Twitter. You’ll often find me chatting about my daily life, quirks, and more if you follow me along.
How do you balance your family life, working outside the home and keeping up with your blog and online mom communities?
I skip sleep. Kidding…kinda. (editor’s note: We don’t think she sleeps. She is like the energizer bunny at conferences!) It’s actually really crazy around here. I’ve discovered its not about balance but just getting done what needs to be done and enjoying as much as I can along the way! I get as much as I can done each day and often my days collide with each other but as long as I’m enjoying each day that’s all that really matters.
Do you have a favorite “mom moment” that you can share with us?
I have so many favorite mom moments I could never really single it down to just one. Just within the past week Gavin made my heart melt each day when I called while we were away. Every night we would call and he would tell us how many more days until we returned and he could kiss us goodnight. Before we left we had to write morning and night hugs & kisses on each calendar day. He loves his calendar and it goes with him when he goes overnight to Nanny’s house.
What has been your most challenging mom moment & how did you deal with it?
When Johnny was 4 years old he was running and not paying attention and tripped over a concrete block and fell face first into a boat trailer hitch and broke his jaw in three places-an extremely rare break in pediatrics. He had to be rushed across the state to Boston Children’s and spent two+ weeks in the surgical ICU. For the next month he had his mouth wired shut. It was very hard to drop life and stay by his side. I lost my job and my husband stayed with us so it was financially straining. We had to drive 3 hours one way every week for the next six weeks as his jaw heeled and the wires were on. In an odd way losing my job was a blessing. It allowed me to stay by his side and help him along the way. He was an insurance risk for his daycare and wasn’t allowed to attend and his special liquid only diet made it hard for others to care for him. It was a reminder that things can change instantly and you don’t always have control of what happens.
Any advice for first-time parents?
Just enjoy it. Johnny is almost 10 years old and the time just blew by. I wish I could go back and enjoy more of the little moments. Trust your gut. Your instincts are almost always right…regardless of what your Mother-In-Law tells you.
Now for a quick glance into Jennifer’s life.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Fiji, it is so serene and beautiful. I wouldn’t mind visiting the Greek Isles either!
What’s your guilty pleasure? Ice Cream. It’s definitely my weakness.
What is an instant de-stressor for you? Coffee!
If someone was going to write a book of your life, what would the title be? Crazed
Thanks Jennifer! If you have a question or comment for Jennifer, feel free to leave it in our comment section. Be sure to check out her blog for the latest mom news & great product giveaways!