Great Superhero Products

Recently, I was sent a sample of a SuperMe superhero back pack & cape.  It happened to arrive a few weeks before my son’s 5th birthday and, seeing the perfection of the gift according to my son’s interests, my husband assumed it was from a relative (who plans way further in advance than we do) and put it in the “bday pile”.

There it laid “undiscovered” until his birthday when I could not figure out WHO had sent the absolutely adorable, well made, perfectly sized Superhero backpack and I put it aside.  When the rep kindly followed-up and my mommy-brain finally kicked back into gear, I realized what it was.  My son, needless to say, was ridiculously psyched to get a cool present well after his birthday!

And this one my friends, is good.  The colorful items are not specific to one superhero – the idea is that the CHILD is the superhero.  Which, for those of us whose kids go through superhero loyalties like Leo DiCaprio goes through Supermodels, is a good thing.

The bags are lightweight, insulated and best of all – all products are made of environmentally friendly materials and are 100% safe.  SuperME also donates a portion of its proceeds to support PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center which is pretty cool.

My son, meanwhile, has packed his bag full of “explorer” items like flash lights and bug nets and he for one couldn’t be happier…

Skateboarding & Kids: Q&A With The Owners of the Longboard Company

Recently, my son (almost 5) has gotten really into skateboarding.  And by “really into it”, I mean it’s an actual activity he asks to do, rather than us making him do it. As I’ve seen him progress, I keep thinking what a great exercise, balance building, and just plain fun hobby it is.

When I heard about the new shop, The Longboard Company – Located in the Sheridian Shoppes in Davie, FL., I was not only excited to bring my son for a visit, but also curious what they had to say about teaching him properly.

The store itself is great, they offer rentals for customers to test drive – which is especially great for a kid. You can see if they dig it or hate it before you purchase, and it only costs $25 (which, if you like it, can be used towards the same-day purchase of a board).  The store also offers skate/surf clothing brands including Roxy, Volcom, Nixon and more – my husband loves surfer-style button downs, so this was a great element also.

The owners of the store, David Malamud and Michael Keane, were kind enough to answer all of my pertinent kids and skateboarding questions.  It really does sound like a great activity to have your kids start with (which made me feel super validated. Yay me.)

Q: What age can kids start Skateboarding?

 Skateboarding can be picked up at any age. Board technology has grown to the point that any rider can find equipment to fit their ride style or experience level. For example, Penny offers a micro board that is perfect for young riders, or skaters that don’t want to lug a large board around. On the other end of the spectrum, Longboard skateboards provide an opportunity for adults to pick up or return to their love of skateboarding. The rigid and sturdy design promotes stability and control allowing for any variation of skill level.

 Q: What kind of skateboard should a kid start with/which different boards are appropriate for what age?

There’s no easy answer to finding the right board. Every rider is different, and boards come in a variety of styles, shapes, appearances, setup, etc. When shopping for a board, it’s important to do your homework. At The Longboard Company, our staff are skaters themselves, and love to share their passion with customers. Riders can come to the shop and actually touch, feel and experience the different types of boards. This is truly the only way to find the perfect board.

 Q: How far is it safe to let your kid skateboard (like same as a bike? a scooter? on foot?)

Like any form of travel, skateboarding can quickly get you from point A to point B. Parents should view a skateboard as any other method of travel for their children, and should implement the same boundaries. All children should be supervised while learning to ride, and we always recommend a good set of pads!

 Q: Do they need to wear helmets for skateboarding?

Helmet laws vary state to state, but we highly recommend a good set of pads whenever you plan to ride. At the very least, it’ll save you a few bumps and bruises which can deter you from progressing, but it can also save your life.

 Q: Where can they go (best skate parks?) to start honing their skills?

The best place to learn how to skate is right in your own back (or front) yard. The beauty of skateboarding is that you can turn the world into a skate park. Start by getting your balance, and learning to push. After that, you can practice tricks in the grass for a soft landing on those mistakes. The Longboard Company also encourages its customers to stop by the store and pick up a few tips and tricks. Our staff truly love the sport and are happy to show anyone the ropes.

 Q: What are the best benefits (i.e. balance, muscle strength, et al) of skateboarding?

Skateboarding is fantastic for connecting the mind, body and soul. Physically, your building strength, endurance, balance and more. Your also training your mind in that skateboarding is all about physics. Each trick you learn teaches you a little bit of science. If you don’t believe us, check out any slow motion skateboard trick on YouTube. You’ll be amazed at what’s happening below your feet. Skateboarding also brings you closer to nature, allowing you to get outside, enjoy a beautiful day and find the perfect rail to grind into nirvana!

About owners David Malamud and Michael Keane:

Owners, David Malamud and Michael Keane are Entertainment Retailers that know how to add an edge to the retail experience. In 2011 they created Aqua Shop Indoor Surfing, introducing the world to the Flowrider, an Indoor Surf Experience that seemingly harnesses nature for an awesome experience for any rider. Aqua Shop has redefined the way people view shopping by creating a culture and identity within their stores. Pros from around the world visit the shop to strut their stuff, or spend some time showing amateurs the ropes.

The Longboard Company- 15651 Sheridan St. Unit 900, Davie, Florida 33331, 954-252-5410

Cheap/Eco-Friendly Kids Water Bottles

I’m always on the hunt for good water bottles. If I could have limitless funds and room for these suckers, I’d be a seriously happy gal.  Yah, my life is that exciting.

Maybe it’s because we live in Florida but I swear I spend at least 8% of my waking hours searching for, filling up, and washing water bottles.  And then my kids seem to lose or break them constantly (i.e. the Camel Back which everyone has and just does NOT work for us).   I hate spending a lot on these but I like to have tons of them around.  I’ve found two new brands recently that have been a great solution.

The first were these super cute ones from Amazon.  They aren’t great for little little kids, as they have a screw top, but they are excellent for school lunch boxes.  Great size and they’re cute. And they come in a stand up holder so they’re not all falling down. bonus.  Only $14 for all five…

The second was at Whole Foods surprisingly (something affordable at Whole Foods?? yes!). I can’t find a link online, but they were a small bottle with a foldable “sucking device” (not a straw, I hate straws).  No BPA. Came in purple, blue, and red and were only $4.  We’ve gotten a lot of use out of them.

Anything you choose is better than re-buying, using, and disposing of the endless branded water bottles!

Best Costume Site

As the mother of a 4 year old boy who is VERY into costumes (the other day when he was complaining about being dragged to various activities I asked him what he would want to do and he said “be at home wearing costumes every day”), I have become quite familiar with the various costume stores and websites.

My favorite is anytime costumes - they have a wide variety of choices and sizes (we mostly search superheroes). And with Halloween approaching, they have one-stop shopping.  Looking for Batman size 3? They don’t offer just one option, they have a few – at different prices and with different “accouterments”.  For me, this is very important as we sometimes get pieces of costumes for “chores charts” (i.e. utility belts, green lantern rings), while Halloween or Bday presents are the whole shebang.

Right now, they’re offering 30% off.  See code above!

Squeezy Mania

Is anyone other than me spending a TON of money on little fruit/veggie squeezies like thesethese or these?

They are such a great resource – you can throw them in your bag and they last forever.  Good little snack without a ton of sugar, carbs, artificial x/y/z, etc. Also well-portioned – instead of your kids “fishing” in a bag of goldfish for 20 minutes until they’re full and have no room for your gorgeous but less-than-goldfish-delicious baked Cod with vegetables dinner, they get just enough to warn off crankiness and leave room for meals.

When I first started buying these (about four years ago), they were around $1/squeezy.  Even then, it seemed expensive but I was a new mom and they filled a major need. We stopped using them for a while but my second is now 18 months and I’m in that world again. The prices have climbed quite a bit…Even in the last six months I’ve seen them go from  $1.29/pp to $1.59.

So, I’ve tried to find a way to circumvent this ludicrous pricing.

Enter “make squeezy at home project”.  First step, get a personal blender (using/cleaning the huge blender for a 3 oz smoothy is seriously time prohibitive).  I bought this one – less than $15, not perfect but works for what I need.

Second step, Obsess over “make your own squeezy” pouches on Amazon for a few days.  Add/remove items from your basket, then pull the trigger.  I Have done the work for you.  Here are the few I debated on and why I made my final selection.

First is the Squooshi pouch.  Clearly the cutest, but also the most expensive and the comments referenced the interior pouch curves getting dirty which makes sense.

Second is the EZ squeezes.  These almost won (good price), but they’re small and lately my little one likes larger “concoctions” (I also thought the little top would get lost).  Similar concerns went with the Yummi pouches and some reviews said they leak on top (and they WOULD in my bag).
So, final decision – I went with the Little Green Pouch.  Good price, seemed to fill all of my needs, and Daily Candy gave it an award so it must be good :)
On to the making.  I already had some organic frozen berries, so I used those.  Added some Almond Milk and Sunflower Seed butter for liquidity/protein.  I can’t give measurements, because I just kept adding as I went and saw the consistency…I suggest you do the same.  I skipped the ice since my berries were frozen already, and I wanted to be gentle on the cheap blender.

Filled up two little pouches with my concoction, put one in the freezer and one in the fridge (and gave my little one some of the smoothy which he loved)! BOTH were a success!   I took the freezer one with us to music class so he could have it afterwards and it was perfectly “slushy” a few hours later.

For my second batch, I am going to use some yogurt to thicken it up – it got a bit watery in the fridge and am considering putting in Quinoa (though I would use those fast…grains and bacteria are friends after a few days).

I know I’ll still buy the crazy expensive ones to throw in my purse, but I’m hoping I don’t need to buy anywhere near as many.  If they want a snack at home or we need snacks for the car, I’m going homemade all the way!


Ipad Mini

Today, Apple will be announcing a new Ipad concept – smaller size, less expensive.

While this article mentions all the reasons Apple is creating this – compete with Kindle price-wise and allow people to feel less protective about their big Ipad and venture out of the house with it, they either are missing or aren’t mentioning a major component to a product like this – KIDS!

In fact, the other day – after my son dropped my Ipad and the screen cracked (ugh FINE I dropped it with my clumsy hands, he handles it like a gentle egg) – I asked my husband why Apple hasn’t created a cheap “Ipad like” device for kids.  I say Apple, not someone else, because good or bad people simply feel better/happier/more excited about buying an Apple product.  And their sh** is freaking cool.

As much as parents may or may not want to admit it, if they have an Ipad, their kids use it.  My 3 1/2 year old uses the Ipad for some “good” stuff (Montessori counting/spelling apps, Dora coloring app, and reading a variety of books) and some “bad stuff” (watching shows, somehow logging on to YouTube and finding clips from real Batman movies – including R-rated lego parodies he thinks are Superhero videos…thanks dad).  But for the most part, the Ipad has been an excellent device for us to give him during “Rest time” or when he is sick.  We somehow feel its better than TV, especially when we find him doing reading exercises.  Then again, it opens up a large world of possibly inappropriate findings.

Kids using Ipads is a somewhat controversial topic.  What do you think is appropriate Ipad usage/age for a kid? Should they use it in public? We actually don’t allow that.  Especially not at restaurants – it makes me sad to see families sit down and the kids whip out some kind of game/device to ensure the discussion level is zero.  Then again, I don’t have a 12 yr old.  Maybe that’s the only way you get them to even go to dinner with you…


Construction Paper

So, I’m REALLY Bad at art. Like, so bad that I was the only kid in school who did not think their elephant painting was good.  I knew it sucked. If you think I’m being self-depricating, check out my recent drawing of Spiderman and the Green Goblin below (insisted upon by Max).  My husband asked me why they’re rapping.  I don’t know the answer to that.


My 3 and a half year old, on the other hand, really likes doing art projects.  So I’m trying my best to work with him. I actually love the idea of doing projects, I just suck at the execution. Now, I use the term “project” loosely, as these undertakings often end up with us sitting down, setting up paint, water, paper, and brushes and he:

a) Piles the various colors of paint on top of each other into a brown blob that rips a hole in the paper and leaks onto the table (IKEA table & chairs  – the best $19.99 I’ve EVER spent

b) Paints his inspiration onto the wall behind him – what we’ve now designated the “art wall” (if we make it sound purposeful and creative, it’s not actually ugly blobs of paint that we’re too lazy to wipe off).

c) Spills the water everywhere so the project amounts to us wiping up dirty paint water and wasting a lot of paper towel

Nonetheless, every time we paint it’s a nice chunk of time doing something quiet, creative and together.  And we always laugh.  (Max told me today I “don’t draw things in the right place”…yah that’s one way of putting it).  So, I’m trying to learn other cool crafts we can do.

My mother in law is something of a master in the craft arena, but I just never think of these ideas naturally.  It’s just not in my DNA.  I have other talents (maybe) but Van Gogh/MarthaStewart I am NOT.

So, I decided to start from the beginning.  I bought a pad of construction paper which, kindly, actually includes instructions on what to do with it – genius.  We also bought glue and kid scissors.  And we did the most basic project – make a chain of “dudes” (that’s what we called them) and color accouterments on them such as eyes, ears, smiles, and of course,  a Batman & Robin.

The result ain’t pretty but It was really fun.  We might almost be ready for step two of crafting – tissue paper? Clay? Rubber cement I can sniff and make booger balls with?