Giving Tuesday: Helping Others this Holiday Season

As you probably know from your mailbox (especially all those charities), today is #givingtuesday. It’s a way to call attention to helping others at this time of year. I’ll be posting many giving opportunities this month, but wanted to highlight a few for today. If these don’t work for you, consider finding some way to get your kids involved in giving today, explaining how while we’re shopping for ourselves and our loved ones, that we can take a day and think about others who may not be on our lists.

It doesn’t have to be buying things either. It can be volunteering or sending holiday cards to troops overseas. It can be baking something tasty to take to the elderly person in your neighborhood, or calling Grandma to say hi.

You can win fabulous prizes donated by sponsors like Schoola and Breathometer, as well as many others, through this contest and fundraiser. Continue reading “Giving Tuesday: Helping Others this Holiday Season”

New York City Holiday Windows – Lord & Taylor

This is part of a series on New York City holiday windows for 2014. You can also see posts for Barney’s windows, Macy’s windows, Sak’s windows, Bergdorf-Goodman’s windows and Bloomingdale’s windows.

See the 2015 Lord & Taylor windows here.

For Lord & Taylor’s 2014 holiday windows, they chose a journey through the imagination, and mansions filled with creatures like mice, cardinals and other animals – plus an enchanted fairytale garden. Check it out.

IMG_6092
The birds are actually moving in the scene.

Continue reading “New York City Holiday Windows – Lord & Taylor”

New York City Holiday Windows – Macy’s

This is part of a series on New York City holiday windows for 2014. You can also see posts for Barney’s windowsSak’s windows, Lord & Taylor windows, Bergdorf-Goodman’s windows and Bloomingdale’s windows.

Macy’s theme this year is about a boy too excited to sleep on Christmas Eve. So he takes out his telescope and sees Santa visiting other planets. So the windows revolve around planets and Santa/toys.

IMG_6106
Here you see Alex looking through his telescope at the night sky. The story is in the bottom part of the window.

Continue reading “New York City Holiday Windows – Macy’s”

New York City Holiday Windows – Bloomingdale’s

This is part of a series on New York City holiday windows for 2014. You can also see posts for Barney’s windows, Macy’s windows, Sak’s windows, Lord & Taylor windows, and Bergdorf-Goodman’s windows.

The Bloomingdale’s main windows  were technology focused.

IMG_6071
You watch the bows move around between boxes and try to figure out which one it is. And you can play online.

Continue reading “New York City Holiday Windows – Bloomingdale’s”

NYC Holiday Windows – Barney’s

This is part of a series on New York City holiday windows for 2014. You can also see posts for Macy’s windows, Sak’s windows, Lord & Taylor windows, Bergdorf-Goodman’s windows and Bloomingdale’s windows.

Barney’s Holiday Windows

Barney’s theme is a Baz Dazzled Holiday, with windows designed by Baz Luhrmann, costume designer Catherine Martin, and Barney’s Dennis Freedman. There’s live performance in several of the windows, which we missed because they weren’t doing any on Thanksgiving (what kind of holiday spirit is that?)

To catch the live performance, see the schedule here. You can also see videos of the performances here.

Barney's exterior
Barney’s exterior

To present the windows for the first time, they had a huge live performance in front of the store, partly shutting down Madison Avenue. They even had a little ice rink out front for performers. Continue reading “NYC Holiday Windows – Barney’s”

What Happens When a Disney Ride Breaks Down

In my many years going to Disney parks, we’d never been on a ride when it broke down. Sure, we’d be in line when it broke down, but not actually on the ride. How did we get so lucky on this trip? Not only did we experience five ride breakdowns, but we were evacuated from Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure. Do you get your FastPass back if you’re stuck on a ride? If you’re in line but it closes? If you’re evacuated? Read on for answers below (this is part of a series on Disney/Disneyland):

The day our stranding on Grizzly River Run, we spent the day at Disneyland. For periods ranging from 1-10 minutes, we got stuck on Astro Blasters, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean (Indiana Jones broke down while we were in the FastPass line, though fortunately cleared before we left).

I totally beat my sister.
I totally beat my sister.

On the Pirates ride, we were surprised to play bumper boats as we approached the waterfall with Blackbeard talking. He talked, and talked and talked until we could repeat his conversation by heart. Fortunately after about 10 minutes, we moved on. Continue reading “What Happens When a Disney Ride Breaks Down”

Gingerbread Houses – a Unique Take

Though I’m terrible at making and decorating gingerbread houses, they’re awesome. While in Tucson last week, this western town at display at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. If you like theses, you’ll want to check out these offerings on Red Tricycle and the gothic Notre Dame reconstruction, via the Star Ledger.
Tracks of candy and pulverized cookies. Fondant and candy decorations.
The black and red in the background is the holiday Oreos, twisted apart. That’s a lot of food coloring. In the foreground, a lot of gingerbread people. Continue reading “Gingerbread Houses – a Unique Take”

Fun New Toys This Season

The kids and I visited a toy show recently and got to test out some new products. I wanted to share our favorites with you.

YUMMY DOUGH
I thought my kids were too old for play dough, but it turns out they’re not. This Yummy Dough was a surprise hit. Combine the ideas of play dough with cookies, and you get an edible play dough (you can eat it raw or baked). It has no butter in it, and almost all natural coloring (the only color that isn’t 100% natural is the blue, which has a few drops of dye). The other color comes from things like tumeric and beets. It’s a German product being introduced in the U.S. by two parents. The dough is $12.95/container, and you mix it yourself to make it fresh. Each container carries 4 colors in separate packs – just add water. It’s pricey enough you may want to give it as a gift or use for special play dates, though I have a buy one, get one free code good through January 7, 2013 if you buy from their Smarty Parents website. Use code BOGODOUGH at checkout. I’ve purchased color cookie dough before, and it tasted terrible. The Yummy Dough, while not something I’d choose to serve guests, tasted okay and the kids liked it. A neighbor sampled the leftovers that we brought home, and he thought it was great.  Continue reading “Fun New Toys This Season”