NYC Sidewalks: A history lesson


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When walking around New York City have you ever slowed your steps and looked down towards the sidewalk? The sidewalks surface of pavement, grates, manhole covers, cracks and little glass circles can tell a rich history of the city.

While walking around our neighborhood H kept pointing and asking about all the details he spotted on the sidewalk. He was totally fascinated by the little glass circles called vault lights. Vault lights are old glass prisms set into sidewalks to let natural light into the basements below. In NYC vault lights are remnants of the late 19th century industrial factory days, before the introduction of electricity.

Vault Lights NYC SidewalksNext he pointed out a manhole cover, I explained to him that it is a removable plate forming a lid to cover an opening in the ground, to prevent things from falling in. He asked if we could look in, and I said no, it is really heavy to open and is probably really smelly because it is a sewer cover. He then asked me what it said, and after reading the manhole cover I kinda chuckled.

NYC Manhole cover made in India“NYC Sewer made in India”, then I thought to myself, Outsourced. Why are these manhole covers being made in India? Clearly they can be made cheaper in India than the US and their must be a story behind it. Well I found one in the New York Times Region section, New York Manhole Covers, Forged Barefoot in India.

We walked past open grate covers, and watched the food being delivered to the local restaurants.

NYC open sidewalk grate

Some typical NYC sidewalk street graffiti that H thought was cute because it had balloons in it, “Kill The Balloons”, no clue what it means and Google produced nothing.


I love how a typical walk through our neighborhood has sparked so many new conversations and history lessons with my kid. I can’t wait to show him the NYC subway map on the sidewalk next time we are down in SoHo.

NYC subway sidewalk map SoHoNext we will learn the history of NYC buildings and architecture details.

My typical Monday morning as a SAHM


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Every Monday morning I have a babysitter come and watch the kids for 5 hours, it’s just as much a break for them from me, as it is a break for me from them. They love their babysitter, and H can’t wait to tell her all about his previous weeks adventures. So, while they are out and about town with the babysitter, I should be catching up on my forever long to-do-list of household and blogging tasks, but instead my typical Monday morning consists of the following:

  • Wake up 5 min before the babysitter arrives.
  • Get breakfast started for the kids.
  • Pick out what the kids will be wearing.
  • Pass off the kids to the babysitter.
  • Check e-mail and social media sites.
  • Go back to bed for 2 hours.
  • Take an uninterrupted long shower.
  • Walk to a local coffee shop for breakfast/lunch and COFFEE.
  • Drink the coffee and eat really slow, while checking e-mail and social media sites.

Monday morning coffee SAHM

At this point I only have an hour or so left so I usually choose one of the following activities, before making my way back home:

  • Do Pilates (this is the best option).
  • Clothes shopping for myself or the kids.
  • Get a massage at the little hole-in-the-wall place.
  • Manicure or pedicure.
  • Pick up groceries for the week.

As a SAHM mom my job never really ends, it is a 24 hour, 7 days a week kinda job. Plus the weekends are usually harder than the weekdays. Having a weekly 5 hour break of time for myself is vital for my sanity to get me through the week. When I return my kids are usually happier, which makes me happier.

The lists can wait, but doing things for myself always come second, the other 97% of the week. Do you take weekly time for yourself? What do you choose to do during you time away?

Back to school ready with LittleMissMatched {Giveaway}


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I was introduced to LittleMissMatched a few years back, they had a cute little booth selling miss-matched socks, in packs of three, at a local NYC holiday market shop. My husband and I thought the idea was brilliant and bought LittleMissMatched socks for all of our nieces. In the LittleMissMatched World, matching is mundane, but mixing patterns and colors is monumentally cool.


Some of LittleMissMatched top selling miss-matched socks, the Striped Ladybug ankle socks and the Black Zany Sneaker ankle socks. Oh so creative and cute, Perfect for back to school!


A few years later LittleMissMatched realized that there is a whole world of girls who share their passion for showing creativity and self expression, so they created a whole fashion line that includes bold girls’ clothing and beauty accessories, colorful bedding, sporty arm and leg warmers, and awesome backpacks, handbags and slippers. The LittleMissMatched girls’ clothing brand is fun and embraces individual style. They have a huge selection of items for back to school and my absolute favorite are the backpacks!

littlemissmatched mini backpackThis LittleMissMatched Neon Pink Mini Bubble Backpack is adorable! A perfect size for #lilStrange, with roomy pockets and two major zipper compartments it is not really “mini” at all, and can fit a ton of back to school items. This bubble heart with L-o-v-e on a neon pink hard shell pack has black and silver accents, it is both stylish and practical for strolling through school or all around town.

LittleMissMatched is available in 7 locations across the USA and online at

Want to know the best part?! You can win a backpack of your choice from LittleMissMatched! They have teamed up with myself, fellow mom bloggers and 12 other companies, in a Back to School Ready #BTSready Giveaway valued at over $450!

Win (1) Backpack from LittleMissMatched!

To Enter click 


For more details on all of the giveaway items check them out here- Back to School Ready #BTSready!

I was not compensated for this post just provided with item to review and giveaway, LittleMissMatched will be responsible for prize fulfillment. 

Back to school ready with RUUM {Giveaway}


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Are you back to school ready? Well if you are not, you still have some shopping time left! You can find amazing clothing and accessory deals that are unique, fashion-focused styles from RUUM American Kid’s Wear. Year after year we shop for H’s back to school wardrobe from RUUM, and year after year the quality RUUM clothing items have lasted him the whole year.


Cool September mornings and warm afternoons need a lesson in layering basics. RUUM T-shirts are super soft, feature custom graphics and a pop of color, they look back to school cool under a crisp button up shirt! Check out more great Back to School head-to-toe style at

RUUM Back to school giveaway

RUUM American Kid’s Wear, has great quality and design, just like the other luxury brands out there, but not the other luxury brands price tags. Check out these popular head-to-toe looks from RUUM’s last preview event in NYC. My favorites are from the boys Hawaii Hi Five and the girls Coachella collections. I can’t see what they have in-store for next season. Plus the prices are so amazing you could probably outfit more than one kid for new school clothes if you had $100 to spend!

RUUM Back-to-school

RUUM American Kid’s Wear is available in 24 locations across the USA and online at

Want to know the best part?! You can win a $100 gift card to RUUM! They have team up with myself, fellow mom bloggers and 12 other companies, in a Back to School Ready #BTSready Giveaway valued at over $450!

Win (1) $100 gift card to RUUM!

To Enter click 


For more details on all of the giveaway items check them out here- Back to School Ready #BTSready!

I was not compensated for this post just provided with item to giveaway, RUUM American Kid’s Wear will be responsible for prize fulfillment. 

Back to school ready #BTSready {Giveaway}


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It’s time to get ready to head back to school and a group of mom bloggers got together to share some of our favorite products that make the 1st day of school a little bit easier for both the parent and the student. The best part? We are giving away each and every one of these items to one lucky reader!

btsready_GiveawayThe awesome bloggers hosting this giveaway are Destiny of Suburban Wife, City Life, Courtney & Julie of The Chirping Moms, Lyla of Globetrotting Mommy, Kris of My Strange Family, Elizabeth of MommieDe, Esti of Primetime Parenting, Lynda of Main Street Mama and Jessica of Peekababy.

$50 Stride Rite Gift Card.
“A century of quality crafted footwear, designed specifically for kids.” Nothing says Back to School like a new pair of shoes and Stride Rite knows what little feet need.

$100 RUUM Gift Card.
American’s Kids Ware ranging from birth to size 14Y this company will have you wishing picture day was everyday. The clothes are casual and stylish with quality at it’s finest. To read a full review please visit My Strange Family.

Mabel’s Labels – choice of combo, Stylish Scholars or Ultimate Back to School.
waterproof, dishwasher safe and microwave safe set of labels to put on anything you don’t want to risk losing. Their slogan is “Labels for the stuff kids lose.” To read a full review please visit Suburban Wife, City Life.

Vamousse -bottle of Lice Prevention and Lice Treatment.
No one likes to talk about these unwanted visitors, but it’s best to be prepared and Vamousse helps to take care of both. These products are non-toxic and pesticide free.  Killing the lice in as little at 15 minutes. A great secret weapon to have on hand.

BubbleBum -an inflatable car booster seat.
This booster seat is the perfect item to have on hand when your child is going to someone else’s house after school or you’re picking up another child for a play-date after school. It meets all US safety testing standards and is appropriate for ages 4-11. To read a full review please visit Globetrotting Mommy.

Spbang – 3 reusable snack bags.
This mom invented, made in the USA, lead free, phthalate free, bpa free and food safe bags are going to make packing lunches so easy. To read a full review please visit MommieDE.

LittleMissMatched – backpack of your choice.
A new backpack is much more than a place to hold your school supplies, but an expression of your child. These super fun bubble backpacks are not only stylish, but also so roomy! To read a full review please visit My Strange Family.

Peppercorn Kids – $25 Gift Card.
Whether you wear a uniform or everyday clothes allowing your child to accessorize shows their personality and fashion sense. Adorable hats, ties and bow ties for the little man of the house or a fun hair accessory or necklace for the little lady.

Skip-Hop – choice of animal zoo backpack and insulated lunch bag.
Skip-Hop has been creating these adorable animal backpacks for years, and they have some new animals they’ve added to the family.  Watching as your little one walks into the classroom is a little easier when they are wearing something so cute and functional. The insulated lunch bag is easy to wipe clean and perfect for on the go.

Sneakz Organic – case (12) of Chocolate Milkshake.
If you have a picky eater, who loves to drink chocolate milk then you are set!  Sneakz Organic combines 4 veggies into a delicious chocolate milkshake making you feel like a sneaky parent!

HABA USA – Choice of Wildlife Mini Backpack
Perfect backpack for both school and exploring. A roomy inside with adjustable straps and chest strap there’s no worry for your little one sliding this off before getting to class.

Wall Pops -Learn to Write Chalkboard.
You always say don’t write on the wall, but with this we encourage your child to!  Wall Pops are easily repositionable and removable.

Raffi -Love Bug CD
Raffi has long been a passionate advocate for children and a sustainable world for today’s youth. ‘Love Bug’ resounds with child honoring principles and affirms Raffi’s place as the legendary children’s artist we all know him to be.

We are so grateful to all of the sponsors who are helping to support this giveaway with over $450 worth of products. This giveaway will run now until Friday, August 15th at 11:59pm.

ENTER HERE >> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hunger-Free Summer: City Harvest site visit


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This summer, I am partnering with the ConAgra Foods’ Hunger-Free Summer campaign with Feeding America. This summer, 26 food banks in 18 states will use Hunger-Free Summer grants, funded by the ConAgra Foods Foundation – ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 – to expand their summer feeding program, bringing more healthy meals to more children during the summer. Their goal is to reach at least 25 percent more children in need during the summer than before, over the course of five years.

Part of my summer participation in this program I had an opportunity to visit a local City Harvest site in Washington Heights, New York City. I was able to see first hand one of their amazing Healthy Neighborhood programs, the family Nutrition Education Course in action.

City Harvest Nutrition Education Course learning

The Healthy Neighborhoods programs through City Harvest are working to put good nutritious food on the table for New Yorkers in need, and help inspire long-term change in the fight against hunger. The family nutrition education course I visited meets twice a week for five weeks, and had 10 moms and 15 kids participating. During the course City Harvest offers the attendees free nutrition education and activities focused on buying, preparing and eating healthy foods.

City Harvest Nutrition Education Course cooking

The kids loved using the blender to make fresh mango salsa to have with their healthy lunch. All of the ingredients for these meals have been donated by local partners found through City Harvest. The smells in the room were awesome. The kids and the parents are equally involved in the food prep process which instill the skills and confidence to prepare healthy meals.

City Harvest Nutrition Education cooking

The attendees were being educated on nutrition, learning about the fat content in a normal fast food meal and how it equals to tablespoons of Crisco. This boys face was priceless when he learned his dinner the previous night had as much fat as 10 tablespoons of Crisco. All the information they learn is given to them in a curriculum binder at the end of each class.

City Harvest Nutrition Education Course educationBesides food education and receiving a healthy meal for the day, the kids participated in fun games, coloring activities and yoga! The importance of educating these kids young is key, plus they look forward to this course every week.

City Harvest Nutrition Education Course Yoga

I had such an eye opening experience with City Harvest and if you are interested in donating click here or volunteering click here. For more information about the national Hunger-Free Summer program read about it below.

Hunger Free Summer – Background Information

  • This year, 26 food banks in 18 states are receiving Hunger Free Summer Grants, including the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
  • According to the USDA, when school is out, nearly 90 percent of children have limited or no access to the free or reduced-price meals they receive during the school year.
  • ConAgra Foods and Feeding America, the nation’s network of food banks, created the Hunger Free Summer program in 2009, to help ensure that all children have access to nutritious meals year round — especially when school is out.
  • Half of ConAgra Foods Foundation’s $10 million commitment to Feeding America is dedicated to the Hunger Free Summer program to supplement and expand the base of existing summer feeding programs for children.
  • The funding from Hunger Free Summer grants enables non-profits to overcome barriers that stand between kids getting the nutritious food they need, by expanding summer programs to feed more meals to more children.
  • The program—now in its fifth year—has supported the delivery of more than 3.8 million meals and snacks to children struggling with hunger over the summer.

This post was sponsored but all opinions expressed here are my own.