Nursing 9 to 5, What a Way to Make a Human. DAY 4 OF MY FAVORITE THINGS: Glamourmom

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Another absolute “must have” in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month – the Glamourmom Nursing Tank! After six years and hundreds of wears it still looks & feels brand new.

The Mint Chip Mama

Day 4 of My Favorite Things: Glamourmom

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@GlamourmomTanksFacebook

August is “Breastfeeding Awareness Month” and August 1st-7th is slated as “World Breastfeeding Week”. Given my love for nursing I would be remiss not to include all of my favorite breastfeeding paraphernalia in my “Favorite Things” series. I have been lucky enough to have nursed for an extended time and to currently be nursing. So this is a topic near and dear to my heart (quite literally!).  Forget saying these are breastfeeding “accessories”. In my world – these are breastfeed NEcessities. The first of which is my beloved, beloved Glamourmom® Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top.

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The Mint Chip Mama in her navy Glamourmom® Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top.

Photo credit: My mom

I learned about Glamourmom through Big City Moms back in 2009 when I was pregnant…

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Pump Up the Volume, Pump Up the Volume, Pump Up the Volume. Milk! Milk! Day 17 of My Favorite Things: PumpEase Hands-Free Pumping Bra

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Continuing with my Breastfeeding Awareness Month posts – here is my absolute favorite pumping accessories. My hands free pumping bra from Pump Ease. Changed my life.

The Mint Chip Mama

Day 17 of My Favorite Things: PumpEase hands-free pumping bra

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@PumpEase  @snugabell #PAA Facebook

Batman and Robin, Lois and Clark, Bonnie and Clyde. All of these are partners. For me right now the biggest partnership (besides you know – the obvious human ones) is between my breast pump and my PumpEase hands-free pumping bra.

As I mentioned yesterday – nursing is something about which I am passionate. Since August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month I want to share my love for another vital breastfeeding item – my PumpEase hands-free pumping bra.

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For me, breastfeeding and pumping go hand in hand. I really credit my pumping success with not only my amazing breast pump but my PumpEase hands-free pumping bra to hold it in place. I was lucky enough to have gotten my PumpEase hands-free pumping bra as a gift when I was pregnant with my daughter – five years ago…

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Pump Up the Cans, Pump It Up While Your Feet Are Stompin’. Day 16 of My Favorite Things: Evenflo Feeding

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Since August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month I’m so excited to share my posts on all things nursing related. As you know nursing is near & dear to me and I’ve chronicled my ups and down here. I am now back again – happily nursing #3! Enjoy!

The Mint Chip Mama

Day 16 of My Favorite Things: Evenflo Feeding

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@EvenfloFeedingFacebook

Breastfeeding is something about which I am passionate. When I was pregnant with my daughter I wanted to learn everything there was to know about it. However, it is a very odd concept when you are speaking about it abstractly. So—these “milk jugs” I’ve been carrying around the last two decades will now produce actual milk – and with that milk I am to feed my young?

Ok… Ok… It is such a crazy concept. Once you get over the absurdity of it, and accept the idea that even though you carry a fancy handbag, wear heels, and drive a car, you are – in fact – just a mammal, you kind of just have to go with it.

I thought nursing would be easy and immediately wonderful. What could be more natural then bringing my newly born mammal to…

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LADIES AND GENTLEMEN AND CHILDREN OF AGES! BIG APPLE CIRCUS Comes to Queens!

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#SavetheBAC
Just read some sad news. The amazing Big Apple Circus may be closing due to a lack of funds. Sharing my post from last year including a few of their amazing non-profit programs. If you also love the Big Apple Circus please consider donating to help them stay open! http://www.savethecircus.org

The Big Apple Circus founders Paul Binder and Michael Christensen will make a special appearance on Sunday, June 12th, at 3pm appealing to the audience for its support and thanking them for their loyalty over the last 38 years.

A nonprofit organization, it also serves children in hospitals, seniors and others with special needs. It recently announced that a $2 million deficit has left it in critical condition and in danger of having to close the Circus for good after this final show of its season.

The Mint Chip Mama

Big Apple Circus presents METAMORPHOSIS

Cunningham Park, Fresh Meadows, Queens

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As they say – the more things change the more they stay the same. For me seeing Big Apple Circus‘ METAMORPHOSIS –  for the second time this year – was equally enjoyable. In fact more so than at Lincoln Center!

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There are a few reasons for this.

1. I knew the show so I knew the really cool parts to watch for and not miss. Plus I knew where Francesco the Clown hung out before the performance started!

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2. My son was older so he was even more into it – if that is possible since he was MESMERIZED last time as well.

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3. My daughter knew what to expect and was really excited to see her favorite acts again. And in a last minute upset shocked us all by asking for popcorn instead of cotton candy. All she talked about once she…

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Oh Baby! Show. My Top New York Baby Show picks!

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One of the reasons I like the The New York Baby Show so much is that they always draw a great combination of vendors – both large and small scale to their event. This year didn’t disappoint. I was happy to walk the floor and see some new and innovative products as well as some of my favorites. As a mom pregnant with my third child it is nice to see there are still maternity or baby products that can be created to fill a need. I present to you my findings!

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One of my favorite companies at the show was Little Partners. Completely new to me they offer only a few products and all brilliant. What started with their Learning Tower twenty years ago – a great product that allows your child to stand (safely contained) in a raised step stool in the kitchen promoting interactive play and learning while you cook, has expanded to include three other equally smart products.

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First, and launched in late 2015, the 8lb Little Partners Phoenix Baby GoTo is a raised infant car seat station which converts to a high chair (100lb limit) and collapses like a beach chair into a bag with a strap. I think this product is ingenious. When I saw it I immediately thought this was the perfect thing to bring to the beach. Since you don’t want your infant carrier sitting in the sand the Phoenix Baby GoTo would be perfect. Much like an umbrella stroller, this should be in every new mom’s trunk. The best part is it’s only $59.99! I was expecting a price tag of at least double. The Phoenix Baby GoTo is sold on Amazon. Second, and launched in April of 2016, is their height adjustable Tri-Side Art Easel (with magnetic whiteboard, rolled paper holder, felt board, and chalk board). This triple sided easel (art supplies included) allows three kids to create masterpieces at the same time using different mediums. The Tri-Side Art Easel is $159.99 and sold on Amazon. Third, was their “smart” Bassinet including a reclining canopy, electronic mobile, extra deep sleeping area, port to play your own music, large storage basket, room thermometer/humidity device,  music, a light, vibration, and a nursing timer (2, 3, or 4 hours). It even comes with two sheets! They literally thought of everything. They can even monogram it with your child’s initials. Launching in August, the Bassinet will be $159.99 and sold on Amazon.

The next item I lusted after was the Cozy Bump Maternity Pillow. Unlike other maternity pillows that are a bit confusing to use this one was simple. Think of an inflatable raft with a hole in the middle for your belly. Absolute bliss! Launched in April of 2016, the Cozy Bump Maternity Pillow offers a comfortable and safe position to lay in for as long as you’d like – and at nine months pregnant that would be all day for me.  It was designed by a husband (with a fitness background) and wife (who is a nurse) team to relieve lower back pain. The Cozy Bump Maternity Pillow is $55 and available on Amazon. A matching electric pump is also available for $15. What’s even cooler is it collapses into an included backpack the size of a newspaper!img_5148

As a person who muttered “no stroller impresses me anymore” walking into the show, I stand corrected. Check out the gb Pockit Stroller. Launched in the US in the spring of 2016, this Guinness Book of World’s Records holder for the smallest stroller in the world weighs in at only nine pounds. Able to hold your child from six months to fifty five pounds (my six year old fit perfectly in it and it was a breeze to push) I was amazed. There was a decent size rectangle sunshade made up of stretchy material and the entire stroller material is machine washable. The gb Pockit Stroller fits underneath an airplane seat & I think even better – would fit in your suitcase or trunk taking up the same room as a large text book. In fact at a folded dimension of 11.8’x13.8’x7″ – it could even fit in your handbag! My favorite part was the handles and buttons you use to collapse the gb Pockit Stroller look like Atari handsets. The gb Pockit Stroller is $249.95 and available on Amazon. So so cool.

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Besides great products, The New York Baby Show had several comfort stations set up for families. I was so happy to see my friends from the New York City Dads Group there with one of the biggest and most well attended rest stations. Started in November of 2008 by two stay at home dads – Lance Somerfeld and Matt Schneider, the New York City Dads Group has grown to a community of over fifteen hundred active dads who meet up in Manhattan regularly. In fact, their model has been so well received that in only a few years they’ve expanded into twenty one cities with over six thousand active members. Amazing! I can personally speak to the New York City Dads Group successful meetups from when we lived in Manhattan and my husband was a stay at home dad for a short stint. He loved knowing there was a community of fun, well educated Dads that he could hang out with on a weekday. Kudos to the New York City Dads Group for creating and sustaining a welcoming & social place for dads to connect. But beware – the Dad jokes are pretty strong – just look at these (hilarious) BabyNes onesies they were giving out…

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As my delivery time is coming close and my excitement level is rising to once again nurse, I was happy to see my friends from Evenflo Feeding  and their amazing breast pump. Along the same lines, I was also so happy to see my friends from Moms Pump Here – a GPS like app for the nearest place to nurse (brilliant!).

Going along with nursing, I was excited to learn New York is getting our own Milk Bank! Check out their site for more information.

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I was also happy to see Kiddylicious and their fruit crispies that were a HUGE hit with my son last year and of course my favorite kids label company – Mabel’s Labels.

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Thank you Momtrends for having me in your Blogging Lounge! I’m always happy to hang out with you awesome ladies. You continue to bring amazing products into my world and I thank you for it.

The show was a great success. Can’t wait to see what new products will come out next year! What were some of the products you loved at the show?

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Thanks Canon for the great picture!

Tuck Everlasting – The New Broadway Musical!

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“Where There’s Water There’s Opportunity”

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia, 2016 Broadway Playbill

There are only a few books that have left a big impression on my life. The Red Tent is one, Our Town is another, but by far – the book that is and has been my favorite story of all time is Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit. So much so that since AOL’s incarnation in the 90s my email address has been two of the book’s pivotal characters and I refuse to let it go twenty five years. I guess in a sense – to me, my email address will live forever…

When I saw that Tuck Everlasting was coming to Broadway I had to see it as soon as humanly possible. I’ve seen many Broadway shows in my day and few have given me chills like a true, true Broadway musical (think the first time you saw Les Misérables). But those chills were there for Tuck Everlasting and I’m pretty sure I was smiling the whole time with the awe of my twelve year old self sitting with me.

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As with all beloved books what’s in your imagination is often different from what’s on the screen or stage. I had not read the book in quite some time and debated looking through it before the show but then purposefully stopped myself so I could see the show through fresh eyes. While I definitely think there were a few creative freedoms taken I will say it was pretty spot on which made me happy. I’m pretty comfortable saying the show – which had one of the most beautiful sets I’ve seen – had my imagination’s full approval. From the tree that converted into a stair case to the incredibly elaborate carnival scene – it was just simply impressive.

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Then there was the dancing – which was unexpected and beautiful and felt like a character in itself. It was ethereal. Towards the end, the dancing was used as the storyteller like in a ballet. I loved how they summed up the plot this way. As a fan of the story I was really impressed at how they portrayed time’s evolution.

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Photo by Joan Marcus

I’m not quite sure why this story has resonated with me for close to three decades. Maybe it is because I was a similar age to Winnie – the central character – at the time I first read it, maybe it was the frog – since I always liked frogs, or maybe it was just an easy going yet very deep story a child could cling to without realizing the multiple deep layers present. I have read the book many times over the years and find myself drawn to different parts each time. It is truly a classic and one that if you have never read should be picked up.

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Photo by Joan Marcus

It makes me happy that this book, published in 1975, and ranked number 16 among the “Top 100 Chapter Books” of all time in 2012, still resonates with young readers. I wonder what it’s like to be in sixth grade in 2016 vs. 1989. I wonder if teachers now draw parallels to the book’s eternal theme and how something like cyber-bullying lasts forever… who knows. For now, I just want to enjoy the experience of seeing my favorite book made into a play and think about what it will mean to me to discuss it with my six year old daughter one day.

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Photo by Joan Marcus

Tuck Everlasting, a family friendly musical, opened at the Broadhurst Theatre on April 26th, 2016 and runs for 2 hours and 15 minutes including one intermission. The play is brought to life with world-class artistry and powerful storytelling in a sweeping production featuring a book by Tony Award® nominee Claudia Shear (Dirty Blonde) & Tim Federle (Better Nate Than Ever), music by Chris Miller (The Burnt Part Boys), lyrics by Nathan Tysen (The Burnt Part Boys), and direction and choreography by Tony Award® winner Casey Nicholaw (Something Rotten!, Aladdin, The Book of Mormon). Check out the New York Times’ review or visit here for tickets, and a video preview.

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Photo by Joan Marcus

I think one of the reasons I keep coming back to this story is because it’s an interesting concept – living forever. Is it something you would want? It never seems to be a good thing to the character in the story, right? But none of them ever chose it, it just happened by chance. It makes you think – if you could freeze a time in your life and live in it forever – would you do it? And if so, at what age?

What is the perfect age for you to be forever? Deep stuff. Comment below – tell me!

 

Third Kid’s A Charm! Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower Ever

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Walking the floor of an event like the Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower Ever (which took place in Manhattan on Tuesday, May 10th, 2016) as a first time mom can be overwhelming. As a third time mom it is more like looking for a needle in a hay stack. What I mean by this is I wanted to see what “wowed” me. What is new & innovative? What stopped me in my tracks & is a game changer the third time around.

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I present to you these findings! I promise they will not disappoint.

I think the coolest product at the show was the very simple yet ingenious dishwasher safe and BPA free Deepy Deepy pacifier bracelet (launched in April 2016). As an avid “stick the paci in my bra so I know where it is” mom I thought this was brilliant! Deepy Deepy was created after a new Dad witnessed his baby fall asleep, the pacifier fall out, and he was just sitting there not knowing a clean, safe place to store it. His invention – the Deepy Deepy lets you know the paci’s 20, 24/7. It is available for purchase on Deepydeepy.com & Amazon for $9.95.

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With a nod to TMI – I stopped in my tracks at the Nosefrida Fridet MomWasher. Sadly I had forgotten the need for that glorious little postpartum squeeze bottle aka every new mom’s BFF. The NoseFrida’s version added the smarts one finds in a bidet. If you know me you’ll know they had me at bidet. Available on Amazon for $15.99 as the Fridet MomWasher or as its cooler twin sister product (with a purple bottle!) the Fridet ButtWasher also $15.99.

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My NoseFrida friends also wowed me with their wearable, flat IThermonitor. This innovative product attaches to both your poor little sicky and your phone, constantly monitoring your child’s temperature while charting it on the accompanying app. Even better it sends you reminders for the next medicine dose. Available on Amazon for $69.99.

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As a suburban mom always walking around my house or in my backyard I loved the new (world’s first!) mini video key chain monitor – part of Project Nursery’s new baby monitor. Love that I could carry it waiting for the bus or standing by the swing set. Available at the end of June for $299.99 at all major retailers.

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For those of you concerned with allergies I loved Hello, Peanut (launched in March of 2016). The concept is simple – you purchase a seven-day individually prepackaged kit where you slowly introduce your child to peanuts via a powder. After the seven days you switch over to their individually prepackaged maintenance packets. Using this program desensitizes your child towards peanuts with the hopes it will hedge off an allergic reaction. Developed by Dr. David Erstein, an allergist, and based off findings in the EAT (Enquiries About Tolerance) studies, this product is the first of its kind. Available on Amazon for $25 (Hello, Peanut Introduction) and $20 (Hello, Peanut Maintenance).

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Honorable mention:

I loved the entire Fresh Wave line and that their packaging was mint green! I very much look forward to de-stinking my son’s diaper pail with their satchel.

All of the products by Little Remedies – especially their New Parent Survival Kit, Sore Throat Honey Pops (genius!), and their brand new Probiotics Plus Electrolytes packets.

Always a favorite on my tummy for moisturizing – Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Soothing Oil for Dry/Itchy Skin for Women but I learned of their nursing butter which I’m excited to try.

Safe Catch Elite Wild Tuna was one of those game changing items. As a tuna fanatic who has curtailed her consumption the last 37 weeks, trying this low mercury, hand cut and slow cooked tuna steak in water was a real “catch”. I had to try at least five samples to make sure it was as delicious as they claimed… it was.

I would be remiss to skip the one item that made me laugh as I pulled it out of the huge gift bag. The Precious Cargo “Yay Boobies” onesie. I can guarantee this will be a well-worn shirt in my baby’s rotation. The best was my six-year old’s reaction telling me it was inappropriate to wear in public. Ha!

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As always, it is great to see some of my favorite brands at an event like this –  I feel I need to share these three tried and true products that I could not have survived the last six years without:

The entire line of BabyGanics baby, child, and household products. I love their sunscreen, Foaming Dish and Bottle Soap, but most of all their Baby Shampoo and Body Wash. I’m so happy this brand carries every product I need saving me the time of reading labels.

Glamourmom Tanks– the nursing tank tops I’ve been obsessed with since 2010. I’ve told everyone who will listen to get one in advance and bring it to the hospital. When you don’t know which way is up and everyone visiting wants a picture with you, this tank will help you nurse and look cute at the same time. What more does a new mom need?

Finally the beloved NoseFrida SnotSucker. As a new parent you say “ew”. As a seasoned parent you say “yes”! Don’t ask, just add it to your registry. After your baby’s first cold send me an email to say thank you.

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Hopefully you too will find some of these items revolutionary! Let me know what you think and what products YOU found this time around that were game changers.