Archive for September, 2009

Blankie Giveaway

imageNot too long ago, I wrote about how this summer, my kids both gave up their blankies. In a flash of — well, either genius or idiocy, depending on your point of view — hubby and I decided to give the twins security blankets, rather than pacifiers. No teeth problems, no plastic sucking, no need to take them away until, as my pediatrician said, they turned forty.

It didn’t take quite that long.  This summer, the twins both gave up their blankies…and I got one.

Well, Jeanelle Troncone, the founder of Comfort Silkie (our chosen blankie brand) read my blog and sent me a Mommy blankie of my own.  It’s an all silkie home-throw. And it’s mine. mine. mine.  It’s big (54×50) and it even has my name embroidered on it.  And since I’m past forty (ouch!) I never, ever have to give it up.

My kids are jealous.  But yours don’t have to be.  Jeanelle has kindly given me an original baby-sized comfort silkie bonding security blanket to give away.  It’s a lovely, sophisticated chocolate brown and cream combo — perfect for the hip baby.

Make comment below, and you’ll automatically be entered to win

My kids loved these forever. They saved us on countless plane and car rides.  And let’s fact it, a kid with a blankie is way cuter than a kid with a hunk o’ plastic sticking out of his/her mouth.

Contest open to US Residents only. Entries taken until midnight on Friday, October 2nd.  One winner will be chosen at random by

Good luck.


September 30, 2009 at 10:14 am 5 comments

The Great Escape – down the block.

This summer was wonderful….and LONG.

In the great tradition of “the more you pay the less you go” my kids’ private school had a full three month break over the summer.  Three months of no school.  Yikes.

So now, I’m the one who needs a vacation, with the husband and without the kids. This poses a problem.  Between camp, renovating, and the economy, we are not exactly swimming in petty cash for a weekend escape.  True, we could go back out to the country without the kids, but that would mean making my own bed, straightening up after myself, and dealing with closing up the house again.  Plus, there would be the inevitable leaky roof issue, or raccoons in the attic problem, or even acknowledgment that it isn’t our house, but my parents’ house, with all of its attendant Freudian bagage.

What to d0?

How about a night in a hotel in NY?  No travel costs, lots of deals if we stay on a weekend night, and proximity should there be an emergency at home.  Plus, I’ve always wondered what tourists do when they’re here.  What do they go see? (aside from the M&M store – something I will never, ever, understand.  Don’t they have M&M’s in Missouri?) Where do they stay?  How does it feel to see NY for the first time?

Enter, a new(ish) website that offers unbiased (read: not sponsored by the hotels themselves) travel website staffed by actual reporters instead of regular people writing about their personal experience.   Unlike TripAdvisor (not to say anything bad about them.  I happen to like that site, too.) they only use real, undoctored photos — not the ones from the publicity packet. so you really see the size of the beach, the cleanliness of the pool, the crowds on the lounge chairs.  Honestly,- do people really buy those PR photos?  The ones that show perfectly coiffed, hard-bodied guests COMPLETELY ALONE ON THE BEACH during the holiday rush at a Caribbean resort??  Yeah, right.)

At the moment, Oyster is a bit limited in it’s scope:  a few islands in the Caribbean, and lucky for me: New York City.

Oyster has some pretty fun  but useless categories like  “celebrity sighting hotels,”  “famous affair hotels” that probably make for better reading than research – unless you’re a stalker or a cheater, that is.  But I opted for the eminently practical “Best Value Hotels” category. Two of their picks On the Ave and The Beacon were out.  I might be into the no-travel get away, but less than 20 blocks isn’t a getaway, it’s home, only more expensive.

The other budget hotels were likewise G.U. (Geographically undesirable.)  as for me, a getaway does not include hoardes of tourists at Times Square,or hoards of businessmen in Midtown.

Still I soldiered on.  Kid Friendly Hotels was a category I was happy to find…so I could avoid those places at all costs.  But Most Romantic Hotels seemed promising. Again, though, no neighborhoods I wanted to explore were represented.  And that’s where I get to problem number one.

I’d like for my husband and I to stay in a cool neighborhood — say near the High Line, or in the East Village. I’d like our hotel to be within walking distance of new, cool, restaurants, and a downtown vibe.  But doing so would only highlight how incredibly OLD we have become.  The last time hubby and I went downtown to dinner were not years older than everyone else —- but DECADES.  You know you’re old when you look at the other patrons and think “I could be his mother.”  or worse yet “get a blanket to cover that girl!  She looks practically naked!” I think Oyster should add a “Best Hotels that are cool but won’t make you feel like you’re 100 years old.” category.

And that brings me to problem number two.  If I really want to get away — I have to be able to get away from myself.  I need to be more positive about my looks, my age, my hipness quotient.  So maybe I should just stay home — because there’s no way that’s gonna happen.

Still, a girl can dream, can’t she?  I can click around Oyster and imagine myself luxuriating in a gorgeous hotel while some studly masseur takes care of the kinks in my neck. Because on the web, the world is my oyster…and I am its pearl.

This is a Traveling Mom sponsored post.

September 29, 2009 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

The End of Vacation: Ahhh!

traveling-mom-logoSure vacation is over, but it isn’t all bad.  After all, the kids are back in school, I am back at the gym, and Zabars is right around the corner.

Read what else is OK about being back from vacation by clicking over to my weekly post on

September 19, 2009 at 8:43 pm Leave a comment

Win A Wii Munchables Game

munchables_for_wii-199x279-customWanna win a Wii game for your kids that’ll actually get them to eat healthy food?

Click on through the Traveling Mom for your chance to win!

September 16, 2009 at 9:30 pm Leave a comment

Rock Star on the RoadL Rand McNally’s Car Karaoke

I love being out of the city.  The flowers, the sea, the incessant barking of the dog of the people renting the house next door.  Sunshine, fresh air.  Picking the herbs I need to cook instead of spending $1.50 a bunch for them, using only a few tablespoons worth, and waiting until the rest gets moldy or dried out before tossing it out.

What I don’t like, is all the driving.

Aside from the fact that all the time I spend in the car is one of the primary reasons I end each summer flabbier and fatter than I began it, is the endless tedium of sitting in the car. How many times do I need to hear that the Black Eyed Peas think “tonights gonna be a good night”?  Or that Cobie Caillat is so in love that it’s wrinkling her nose?  I’m wrinkling mine, too, honey, in disgust at the amount of gas I’m using and time I’m spending SITTING SITTING SITTING. (Does pushing the gas pedal burn calories?  I hope so.)

Notice I haven’t mentioned the kids?  Generally speaking, the bickering begins just as we reach the end of the driveway.  Lovely.

Imagine, then, how happy I was to get a distraction in the mail: Rand McNally’s Car Karaoke, part of their Boredom Breakers ™ series of car games for families. (Full disclosure:  they sent it to me for free.  Asked me to review it, but IN NOW WAY direct what I am going to say)

The Boredom Breakers Game Series

Rand McNally, the 100 + year old travel company mostly known for maps, just introduced a whole series of  games and activities to keep kids entertained and families connected in the car.  Since we don’t have a DVD players in the car (I know, I’m the last holdout) and my kids get sick when they read in the car or even play their DS, The Boredom Breakers™ games are perfect.  According to Rand McNally “The products are designed to bring families together, encouraging conversation, laughter and fun making the miles fly by for moms and kids on the go.”

They sent me Car Karaoke.  Here’s how they describe it: “Mom can sing lead and kids are back-up vocals.  Just pop in the CD with 12 classic rock, pop, and kid favorite songs.  Includes everything needed to be a rockstar: an inflatable microphone, rating cards, and three lyric books.  Choose from favorites like “Build Me Up Buttercup” or “Twist and Shout,” to see who’s got the pipes in the family.  Earplugs not included!”

Here’s how I describe it: hysterical.  My kids LOVE the blow up microphone.  So much better than a hairbrush.  Quite honestly, they don’t know a lot o f the songs on the CD, and don’t really want to sing the kid songs they do, but they use the mike for songs on other CD’s or on the radio (there’s a lot of wrinkling noses in the car) – and are surprisingly kind with the rating cards!  The only suggestion I would make it to include two mikes in the kit — one for each kid.
The quality of the singing on the CD is pretty varied — from quite good to bordering on torture — but you can choose to sing without the singers (like real Karaoke) and in any case, they sound better than you or your kids. (or at least me or mine!)
Truly, they could have just sent the inflatable microphone and the ratings card and it would have been just as good.

Still, it has helped to end the tedium enormously.  And from what they tell me, their other games help spark conversation.  Which, since they are trapped in the car with me, is perhaps the best time to get their attention and get them to talk.
Bottom Line: If you are heading out for a long drive this Labor Day Weekend.  Give these games a shot.  They’re not expensive (under $15,.00 for the Karaoke (why not Car-aoke?? I don’t know!), and they really might make being trapped on the road a lot more fun.
Rand McNally’s Boredom Breakers series of car games are on sale at and

September 4, 2009 at 8:39 am Leave a comment

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