Thursday, October 30, 2014

Getting the Gunk Out With Wisk Deep Clean

Disclosure: I received a sample for review purposes; all opinions expressed are my own.

Since being married for 5 years there's something that's not so glamorous that I've been dealing with: my husband's work shirts. He works a white collar job, but I really should say "brown collar" (is that mean???). He's on the road a lot and his shirts get quite the build up of ring around the collar. We were fortunate to have a washer dryer at most of our NYC apartments and for a while used a wash and fold service, but as I've handled the laundry for the most part I was determined to find a solution. 

My mom, a clothing and textile sciences expert (seriously - she majored in it!), told me to try the old stand by Fels Naptha and while it definitely works, it requires rubbing each neckline, letting it sit then laundering. This process causes me to leave washing my husband's shirts for the last load and I often refuse forget to do them so when Wisk reached out to me to try their Deep Clean Power Blasts I wanted to see if the could handle the ring around the collar. 

This is my life right now (and this is just Gray's laundry after 2 days!)
Wisk Deep Clean goes beyond surface stains with its patented Miro-Cleaners which penetrate deep inside the fabric to seek out and attack hidden dirt, such as trapped body oils and dirt that other detergents may leave behind. While it sounds super powerful, it's something I wouldn't use on my kids' clothing yet especially with their sensitive skin, but between my husband's shirts as well as all the mounds of adult laundry containing food/bodily fluid stains thanks to life with kids I was willing to give it a try. 

Here's how the shirts turned out after:

I'm pleased to see that Wisk Deep Clean Power Blasts work just as good at removing the ring around the collar as my usual method, but the difference is TIME - something I don't have much of. While the price is less than a penny per use for the Fels Naptha, if I only use the Power Blasts for my husband's shirts (1 load a week) it really is a good deal considering the time it saves me. 

To find out more about Wisk Deep Clean visit their website and visit their Facebook page to use their gunk calculator for your family's laundry (our gunk jar is 75% full O_o). 

Do you handle the laundry in your household? Which stains cause you the most trouble? (I'm nervous about Grayson's cloth diapers once he starts solids - it can get intense!)


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Life With Gray: 4 Months Old

First things first: the 4 month wakeful is FOR REAL! I found out that it was the first time around, and it's now more apparent than ever. Thankfully, Gray's cuteness is making up for him being turnt up at 3a.m. (with Nia laughing at his antics the entire time O_o).

Gray's doctor's appointment was yesterday and this time there's no big life change to contend with (although I still have a few boxes to sort through!) so I'm happy to do his update close to his actual month-birthday: 
  • Baby's Weight: 15lbs, 2.5oz 
  • Baby's Height: 26" and just like it happened with Nia's dr., Gray's height prompted our new dr. to ask, "How tall is his dad?!" When I told him he said, "Those genes are really coming out!"
  • What size of clothing does baby wear? He's still 3-6 months (or I just remember he's about the size of his dad's sneakers)
  • Special outings baby had during the month: our visit to Boston a couple weeks ago and this past weekend's apple cider pressing upstate
  • What are your thoughts on this past month?: PERSONALITY! That pretty much sums it up. It's shining through and it's been wonderful seeing how excited Gray gets about every little thing now. 
  • What was baby's routine? We're still good about getting in bed between 8-9p.m. but with the 4 month wakeful in full effect it's making overnight shaky sometimes. He's definitely more scheduled than his sister was, but his new pediatrician wants him on an even tighter schedule. I could probably reign him in a bit with feedings (more on that below), but for now I think our system is working. Our overall family routine is a bit shaky now too especially since we're still adjusting since our move.
  • Any milestones baby reached during the month?: Recognizing his sister and full on laughing just watching her (I finally captured him laughing here!). It's as though a switch was turned on and he's like, "Oh it's another little person who can entertain me!" The first time it happened I had him over my shoulder and we were walking down the hallway with Nia behind us. He started making a sound that sounded like choking to me and kicking is legs. I was startled and looked at his face and saw Nia being silly and realized he was laughing at her. Adorable! Now if I can channel this into 5 minutes of entertainment so I can shower . . .
Always chewing on his "steak fingers," as we call them!
  • Reflect about the highlights of the month: I'm still feeling the effects of his shark teeth - not sure that'd be considered a "highlight" though so I'll call his budding relationship with his sister a highlight! 
  • Did any big changes occur? Nothing as major as the last update, but he's definitely laughing more
Gray loves his Tiny Love Discover the World Mat (full review to come!)
  • What are baby's favorites - toy, food, person, etc...  Still loving his Baby Banana Brush and we've now introduced the Octo-Brush too! He also likes staring at himself in his playmat mirror. Also, about food: the pediatrician is pretty old school and has given us the go ahead to introduce solids. I was so surprised as I'm pretty much a WHO stickler for breastfeeding exclusively the first 6 months (NOT the first 4-6 months), but the doctor said Gray's definitely ready. We'll see. The part of me that despises being bitten while nursing is ready for him to be weaned (it hurrrrts), but I'm also not quite ready for him to be a "big kid." The way he looks at my food and drools though makes me think he wants solids. We'll see. The evidence for the benefits of delaying is pretty strong!
  • What I'm looking forward to? Heading to San Antonio next week! It'll be our first time flying as a family of 4, and I'm not nervous cause I know the power of the boobies especially on long flights! 
Do you remember your little one having a 4 month wakeful? I know some kids who seem to just be wakeful period ::coughs:: Nia O___o

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Revisting My Columbus Roots with Kahiki (and a Chance to Win!)

Disclosure: I received a sample to facilitate this review; all opinions expressed are my own. 

Overwhelm. That's a key word for this phase of my life, but as I've shared before I know it will pass soon enough. For now I'm taking things in stride and still finding moments to hug up on my kids especially giving Baby Gray lots of squeezes because the baby phase really does go by in a blink! In the midst of my family's transition to New Hampshire there are quite a few things also going over my head and those include emails. I scan and re-scan my inbox for emails that may have fallen through the cracks and recently when I saw "Kahiki" in my inbox I stopped for a moment of nostalgia.

Growing up in Columbus, Ohio I was obsessed (and part scared) of the Polynesian-themed restaurant of the same name. It had large imposing statues in the front of it reminiscent of Legends of the Hidden Temple. Sadly it closed, but this article captures many of my childhood memories of the establishment (especially roasting the meatballs over blue flame!). It turns out the company is now in the business of frozen food so I was very curious to see what their email was about. 

Kahiki prides itself on offering all natural frozen food with no artificial ingredients or preservatives. With the tagline "Real Asian. Real Simple." I set out to explore their product line and offered to have my family give it a try. While I usually cook most of our meals, it was a welcome break to try Kahiki especially with Mr. Lovebird currently out of town and handling both kids on my own.
Kahiki is currently running its "How Do You Asian Night" sweepstakes giving away a year's worth of their StirFresh product line (a $500 value!) and 10 runners up winning woks filled with ingredients for Asian night as a family including StirFresh free meal coupons (each a $150 value). While my local grocery store doesn't carry StirFresh, I was able to give the Multi-Serve Meals a try. Drawn in by the broccoli on the package, Nia picked out General Tso's Chicken. Coming from NYC where Chinese take-out is renown I wanted to see how it would stack up. 

My first instinct was to put it in the oven, but I saw on the package it's recommended to go in the microwave. I also thought there'd be a packet of sauce to drizzle it on like the picture on the package, but it was all frozen together and had to be stirred in. I did see the StirFresh line has the sauce packet offered so I'd like to give it a try if my grocer ends up offering it. 

While the microwave definitely made the chicken mushy, the veggies rice and sauce were fine although I could've stood for more heat in the sauce since I like my General Tso's spicy, but for a simple ingredient list with things I could actually pronounce plus the fact that Nia actually ate it without complaining I call it a win. And a bonus for this busy mom?: The leftovers made a great lunch for Nia and me the next day!

Be sure to visit Kahiki's website and enter here to win the amazing grand prize - it ends this Friday, October 31! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Apple Cider Pressing Changed Our Lives

Do you ever experience something that messes up all your previous experiences of that particular something?


That was the result of yesterday's apple cider pressing. If you haven't had fresh apple cider that's been immediately pressed then you don't know apple cider. At the time of this writing I have almost 1 gallon of FRESH apple cider sitting in my fridge that I'm telling myself will last until Mr. Lovebird is back in town on Wednesday, but I have a feeling that between me and Nia it's not going to make it. 

Against my better judgement Nia had a cupful before last night's dinner AND during dinner (I understood the addiction and couldn't deny her!), and when she emptied her cup of the heavenly nectar she straight sucked on air for a good 3 minutes trying to get more out of it. I was concerned she'd get light headed! I don't blame her though. It really is amazing. 

The awesomeness is both good and bad I guess. I'll start with the bad: it's supremely addictive and sugar coma inducing. The good? Well, it's officially ended my ability to drink any other apple cider apart from that which has been freshly pressed. 

Gray gets serious FOMO sometimes and I kept using my phone to check if he was napping on my shoulder; he would turn to give a side-eye to the camera!

Thank to our  Jersey City friend Anna and her family for inviting us out to her father's apple cider pressing day. Anna's son and Nia were in Pre-K 3 together and Nia was absolutely thrilled to be reunited with her little buddy. About an hour before we left to make the 1 1/2 hour trek home (hooray for kids who sleep in the car!) Nia hugged her friend and just wouldn't.let.go. He asked why she was hugging him and I answered for her, "Because she missed you so much! She thought you wouldn't remember her" (something she asked me repeatedly leading up to our visit). Aren't preschoolers sometimes adorable???

Have you ever had fresh pressed apple cider? What are your fall flavor obsessions besides pumpkin

Saturday, October 25, 2014

My First Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower Ever Boston Recap

Disclosure: I received complimentary admission to the Biggest Baby Shower Ever; all opinions expressed are my own.

We're closing in on a month of living in Portsmouth (it flew by!) and now that I look back on it I'm amazed I was able to squeeze in a couple events in the first few days of living here. Thankfully they were on the same night and one of those was the Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower Ever. 

Gray was a great date and having attended a few baby expos before helped me pinpoint a few new-to-me brands and products I wanted to experience. Here's what caught my eye:


I know most people think back to the old school Motorola phones when they hear "Motorola," but did you know they make baby monitors too? We have Nia's old baby monitor that's sound-only, but I was impressed to learn all the latest developments including dual mode viewing via hubble which allows remote viewing to your smart phone. This will launch the beginning of 2015 and in the interim look for my review of the MPBP27T, a digital video monitor with an integrated touchless thermometer that works on both baby and liquids. Amazing!


I've been seeing the Halo Bassinet Swivel Sleeper for some time now in my timeline, and it was cool to experience at last in person! Pardon my super-cropped image as I was trying to keep the rep out my shot, but if you take a look at the control panel that's what's awesome about it: it not only has built-in white noise (we swear by white noise in our household), but it also has a timer for nursing to help keep track of sessions. I kept track of Grayson's feeding sessions for his first month until I learned his patterns but this really would've been handy. The icing on the cake? The fact that the entire bassinet swivels out of the way so you don't have to do the awkward booty scoot to the end of the bed to exit. You can see the full video here.


Pediped wasn't on my radar when I had Nia, but I've since seen them around on other babies and was interested in seeing their offerings for boys. Gray has a few Pediped hand-me-downs that I'm looking forward to him wearing and while they do have some cute offerings for boys, I think the girls' shoes are way cuter! What's so great about Pediped are their super soft bottoms are the closest babies can get to barefeet, which actually helps them learn to walk (and they're officially recommended by the American Podiatric Association). At 10 months Nia was an early walker so I'm curious to see what might happen with Gray especially if he starts rocking Pediped!


I was surprised to see Stouffer's present but I soon realized it completely made sense! Growing up loving their mac & cheese, I was happy to see they had plenty of samples and as I hadn't eaten dinner it was a welcome snack. This is exactly how Stouffer's helps busy parents: offering them delicious, easy meals especially when time is of the essence. Their vegetable lasagna is another staple I love! 


Created by two moms (who have 8 kids between them!), I was intrigued by NuRoo, a company that promotes skin-to-skin contact. Offering the NuRoo Pocket, Nursing Scarf and Swaddler, there are multiple ways their products can be worn allow for versatility and the ability to wear them beyond baby. The demos were fascinating and you can see them here on their website.

Orbit Baby

I've seen Orbit Baby before, but hadn't yet experienced the G3 which keeps popping up in my social media timelines so I was thrilled to get a full demo. While we're up to our limit on strollers, if I had to get another stroller this might be it! The reason why? The fact that it can rotate a full 360 degrees. It's such a pain to get Gray in and out of the car twisting at times but if I could just swivel the car seat like Orbit Baby's allows it'd be so much easier. You can see it in action in this video. Cool, right? 

I didn't snap a pic as I as heading out the door and my hands were full, but I was thrilled to see Belkin Family Look Out Farm handing out bags of apples as guests exited. They were the perfect snack on the drive back to Portsmouth!  

Whether you're a new mom or beyond the Biggest Baby Shower is a wonderful opportunity to catch up on the latest baby gear and a fun night out (there are tons of giveaways too!).

**For my NYC friends: there's still time to get in on the upcoming Biggest Baby Shower Ever New York happening November 12 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. You can get all the details and your ticket here.**

Have you ever attended a baby expo before? What types of baby products are on your radar? That Halo Bassinet Swivel Sleeper is pretty awesome IMO!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NYC-Area Readers: Circle Line's Kids Costume Cruise This Saturday, October 25!

Disclosure: My family received complimentary passes for a Circle Line cruise; all opinions expressed are my own.

If there's one thing that never gets old it's seeing the NYC skyline in all its glory. I've had the opportunity to take a few harbor cruises and in August we made a family event out of surprising Nia on Circle Line's Pirate and Princess Party the Saturday before her birthday. I was also doing double duty sampling for GoGo squeeZ that day, and as we pulled up to the dock Nia slowly realized what was about to happen and started exclaiming, "Mama! We're going on the boat?!" She smiled so big and I knew it'd be a hit. 

It was!

I'm thrilled to share that there's still time to get on board this weekend's Halloween Costume Cruise. Featuring Baze and His Silly Friends, this special kids cruise will offer a family friendly 75 minute sail to the Statue of Liberty with an interactive LIVE tour guide and special Halloween entertainment. The kids are in for a spooky fun time with a strolling magician and face painter onboard.  

The Pirate and Princess Party was my 2nd time being on a Circle Line Cruise, and I have to say the staff is excellent. They run the kids cruises very efficiently and they're a lot of fun - I especially like seeing how excited the cuties get for the interactive games and music! I really wish I had thought to put Nia in her princess costume for the Pirate and Princess cruise (I was still in a bit of mind-fog post Grayson - at least she was donning pirate stripes!), but please know that kids get allllll decked out for the cruises so make sure your little one is on point! Nia had fun going around to all the stations (especially face painting), and the 75 minutes really does fly by!

The cruise boards Saturday, October 25 at 9:30a.m. and sets sail at 10a.m. returning promptly at 11:15a.m. Tickets are $29 for adults and $20 for children. Cruises depart at Pier 83, located at West 42nd Street and 12th Ave. To purchase your tickets click here.

Do you think your kids would enjoy a harbor cruise? Have you ever been on one?

2 Weeks From Today: Come With Me to Blogalicious (Promo Code!)

With adjusting to life with 2 kids and the whirlwind of our recent move it just hit me that in 2 weeks I'll be in San Antonio for my third year at Blogalicious! I'm super excited to be there with my family in tow. My first year there Mr. Lovebird joined me and last year I went alone (well, sorta since Baby Grayson was in utero!). As temperatures are dipping here I know the warmer weather will be welcome and while I'll be speaking, it will also be a mini-vacation for us. 

If you're still on the fence about attending I have a special promo code especially for Harlem Lovebirds' readers: use code b6spkrfriend to save 30% off your ticket! To purchase click here (there are one-day passes available too).

Still not convinced? Here are a few of my favorite moments from Blogalicious' past (here are full recaps for 2013 and 2012):

Will I see you there? 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Revisiting Pins & Needles (and a Quick 3-Step Placemat Tutorial!)

Before our recent move I went on a whirlwind tour saying goodbye to a few of my favorite small businesses. One of those is the UES shop Pins & Needles (you can read my original posts here and here). I was excited to see mention of their expansion in their newsletter and wanted to check it out for myself. The owner Rachel started off with one side of the floor that her shop occupies and now has doubled the space.

The original space
The addition; I love the inspirational words on the wall!
Rachel always has such fun prints in her shop and helped me pick out a couple for a placemat project for the kids and "kickee" pants for Grayson. While my mom was here she helped me with the placemat which was super easy, and I'm sharing the tutorial with you today:

  • Favorite fabric (sized to pre-cut felt backing)
  • Felt backing (the piece was pre-cut in a placemat friendly size)
  • Double binding in a complimentary color
  • Fusing tape


Step 1: Iron fabric and felt, match up and trim if needed

Step 2: Measure and cut binding for all 4 sides, pressing to make tight edges

Step 3: Measure fusing tape to match binding, laying in each piece and ironing all the way around, tucking in edges and pressing with more pieces of fusing web as needed all the way around

That's it!

Especially with the holidays approaching you can make these more formal depending on the fabric and trim you choose plus they'd make a great favor for your guests to take-home!

Which holiday projects have you started? Be sure to follow Pins & Needles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for project  inspiration!


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