Christmas Gift Guide for Mom and Kids

Christmas is finally here! I’m so excited for this Christmas, it’s the first Christmas that Calvin is actively moving around the house and baby talking his life away. I have so many plans for our family this season and of course I can’t forget the gifts. I wanted to share with you guys some of our favorite things in case you’re looking for gifts to get the kiddos or a mommy friend. I’ve chosen Calvin’s top faves and my favorites. 

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Christmas Gift Guide for Kids

1.My B Toys:

This is Calvin’s favorite toy right now, the whacky ball. He loves playing with small items and anything in motion. This toy is perfect for sensory development and repetition. The toy has a mirror background that reflects the motion of the balls through the maze. Can’t forget his favorite plane. My B Toys has so many amazing toys, so be sure to check them out. 

http://www.mybtoys.com/toys/

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2. Hape:

I put this toy on Calvin’s birthday wish list and it’s just wonderful. Calvin loves the small balls, he crawls around the house with them in his hands and has learned about sounds when the balls drop onto the xylophone. They’ve helped him a lot with his motor skills. The other thing he got was this wood bike, I ride him around our home with it and he loves it. I can’t wait for him to learn to ride it on his own. This is such a great gift for toddlers. 

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3. Books:

Right now I have two favorite book brands, ” Canticos” and ” BookRoo“.

If you’re Spanish and grew up singing ” Mi Burrito Sabanero” you are in for treat. Canticos has created their own version in English and Spanish for kids and you can even download the app and sing or read along to the book.

https://www.amazon.com/My-Little-Donkey-Burrito-Canticos/dp/0996995935/?tag=canticosworld-20

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As always BookRoo has my heart, they are a month subscription for children books. I think it’s a wonderful gift for any child, baby and up. The best part? you don’t even have to wrap the books, they’re already wrapped for you! surprise!

https://bookroo.com/

The Jesus Story book: We got this one for Calvin’s baby shower and I treasure it. We asked for the bilingual version and it’s amazing. definitely a sweet gift during Christmas time.

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4. Teepee:

This tent is from Cozy Culture and it’s my favorite part of Calvin’s room. I love that I can change the style of it and love watching Calvin play in it. We spend mommy and me moments in it always. Cozy Culture sells the tent and mat separately. If you don’t have a tent, you want to get one for Christmas!

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5. Puzzles: 

I love these puzzles by Melissa and Doug, their so fun and perfect for toddlers. This is great for teaching toddlers to identify shapes, colors and matching. They have so many different puzzles for kids and cheap too.

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6. Art:

” My first Crayola”  are products by Crayola intended for babies and toddlers. I love both of these products. The ” Mess Free touch lights” is like a light board. so perfect for keeping toddlers entertained while it being mess free. I love that you can just use your finger to create art. The ” Washable Finger paint” kit is perfect for introducing baby to paint. Calvin love painting but that gets messing quickly. The kit comes with paint, apron, and drawing paper. However, you can easly get paper, non toxic paint and any shirt you’re okay with baby messing up.

Christmas guide For the mama’s:

1.Jewelry:

My amazing and talented friend started a small business along with her mama and their jewelry is to die for. They’re handcrafted made of clay and each inspired by their favorite art pieces and Dominican culture. These are perfect for any mama friend or even for your own wish list. Be sure to check out their website & instagram account.

https://www.agustandambar.com/

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2. Market Bag from Apolis:

I love, love this bag. It’s my go to bag when I make trips to the supermarket or a quick run to Target. I love how much space and weight it can hold. Definitely a bag I recommend any mama to get. 

https://store.apolisglobal.com/collections/bags

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3. Fanny pack:

This summer I purchased my first fanny pack and it’s probably my favorite one ever! I loved that I got to wear it all summer and use it as my goto bag when running errands. I bought mines from Fawn Design, they have so many colors and also have other bags. 

https://fawndesign.com/products/fawny-pack

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4. Spa Date:

What woman does not love a spa date? I definitely would gift any mama a spa date. Right now the most talked about spot is called ” Sojo Spa. Club“. I hear the view is amazing and such a great place to relax. It’s located in NJ for all my city mamas. You can book them a facial or massage also.

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5. Backpack:

So I’ve been trying to get a comfy backpack for school since September and recently I stumbled upon this Nike backpack! And I LOVE IT! I always go for girly back packs but the straps are always so thin and mess with my back! So this has been a game changer for me. I can carry my laptop, books and even carry Calvin’s stuff with me to work and it’s easy on my back. If you’re a traveling mama, yup.. you want this bag.

https://www.nike.com/t/radiate-backpack-b191xP

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6. Coffee Mug: 

I am not a coffee lover, but motherhood has made me one. I had a IG mama introduce me to the ” Keep Cup’ and I needed to have it! It’s super cute, glass and the perfect to go cup and reusable!  Such a great gift for the coffee lover mama.

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https://us.keepcup.com/

7. Essential Oils/ Diffuser: 

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This is on the top of my Christmas list! I’ve been so blessed by essential oils through my friend Sam and learning about all the benefits of using them has convinced me that I need them and a diffuser in my life. I use essential oils for my anxiety, you’ll always find a roll on oil at my desk. Plus you can use them on your kids for their tummies, to help them breathe better and clear the air.

https://www.youngliving.com/vo/#/shopping-cart?returnUrl=https:%2F%2Fwww.youngliving.com%2Fen_US%2Fproducts

 

I hope this gift guide was filled with things you would enjoy and purchase, have more suggestions for gifts? Leave a comment! I would love to add more things to share. 

 

love, 

transparentcitymama


NYC Holiday Activities for You & the Kids

The holiday season is here and I’m sure you have some time off to hang with your kiddos this Christmas time! So here are some places to check out during this Christmas season, take your camera and go and make some memories!

1. See Santa at Macy’s Santaland (or elsewhere). I really enjoyed Santa Land at Macy’s. The wait was about an hour but don’t let that scare you away. Inside SantaLand you can take pictures and just enjoy the Christmas decor. Taking a picture with Santa is free but the picture packages start at $20.

2. New York Holiday Train Shows:

All Aboard with Thomas & Friends: – The Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

I haven’t been to this show but I heard it’s pretty amazing. If your kiddos love trains especially Thomas and friends you’ll want to check out this show.

New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex in Grand Central Terminal:

Apparently this is one train ride you won’t want to miss out on.

Free and open to the public.
Monday – Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday – Sunday, 10am to 6pm

3. Rockefeller Center:

One of my favorite places. Standing underneath the tree always feels magical at night. So stop by and get some pictures and while you’re at it, make a quick stop at Magnolia Bakery, for some treats. My fave is their banana pudding.

4. FAO Schwarz in Rockefeller Center: 

 The most fascinating part about this toy store is their giant piano.

5YC Winter Lantern Festival —Snug Harbor, Staten Island

Seven acres of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden are lit up by 40 LED installations that stretch up to 30 feet tall. The lanterns are accompanied by live performances of traditional Chinese dances and art, and a variety of holiday vendors, to create a magical and unique holiday season experience. (Mommypoppins.com) Ends, Sunday, January 6, 2019

6. Luminaries Brookfield Place

Age: all ages – Price: FREE

Visitors are immersed in a canopy of light emanating from hundreds of suspended lanterns. Three Wishing Stations on the ground allow visitors to “send” a wish to the canopy of lanterns above, translating the wish into a mesmerizing display of lights and colors. Ends, Fri, Jan 4, 2019

7. Dyker Heights Christmas Lights: – Brooklyn NY

Looking for a place that lights up your night ? You might want to pay this place a visit. 

8. Garabedian Family’s Christmas House: – Bronx, NY

The Garabedian family’s home on Pelham Parkway North is known to many as the Christmas House. Just one look and you’ll see why. 

9. Toddler Gym at Chelsea Piers: – Chelsea

This awesome indoor space offers a jungle gym to climb, crawl through, and clamber over. 

Open play: Monday–Thursday, 9:30am–noon and 1pm–5pm; visit the website for weekend schedules
$12 per session, discounts for multiple sessions
Ages 6 months–4 years

10. Children’s Museum of Manhattan — Upper West Side

Tuesday–Friday, 10am–5pm; Saturday, 10am–7pm; Sunday, 10am–5pm
$14 per person; infants younger than 1 FREE

11. Radio City Christmas Spectacular:  Lower East Side 

Splurge to see the high-stepping Rockettes do that famous kick line.

Ruben took me to see this show when we were newlyweds. It’s outstanding! 

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12. Rolf’s:

Dine at Rolf’s, the tiny German restaurant in Gramercy that goes all out with its Christmas decor.


Motherhood and Calling

      I’ve always struggled with understanding my purpose in life. For a very long time I felt without meaning until I met Jesus. The questions I had about life soon began to have answers and the big question of “What do I do with my life?” became clearer. Over the few years that I’ve been walking with Jesus, I have grown to love things that honestly, I didn’t care to much about before Him. When I began to understand the Christian faith and how it would change every area of my life, the word “Calling” was mentioned a lot. That word was just as confusing as the word “purpose”. If I don’t know what I’m called to do in life than what am I doing with my life? (my inner voice constantly asking this question) I still ask myself this question sometimes when I’m filled with doubt.  But over the years I’ve learned that as believer I have one call, to love God with all my heart, soul and mind, to serve him for all my days and to tell others the good news of Jesus. However, God gives us gifts and affections for things that lead us to either invest our time in or he uses them for different seasons in our life.

      I can’t recall the day I knew I wanted to work and serve young girls. I think that desire and vision grew over time. It grew from my own experiences as a young girl but also from interreacting with younger women. I’d like to say that God has allowed me to speak into the lives of women of whom some I’ve known for a season, others I’ve known for a while and some I just met for a moment. Each one of them were always drawn to me and every time I had a moment with them I felt so much joy. I enjoy hearing women share their stories and encouraging them. I enjoy it enough that it inspires me and makes me feel like finally I found my “calling”.

      I have two things that inspire me, my job and my son Calvin. This week I shared with someone why I’m not a stay at home mom, trust me I’ve thought about it. I went part time at work last year after having Calvin and I tried to budget however I could to be able to stay at home. But I didn’t feel that God wanted that for me in this season, he wanted me for something more. I didn’t desire enough to stay home; when I did desire too it came from fear. Fear of someone else caring for Calvin. Financially we also would have not been able to sustain our family and I missed being at work. Sometimes I wonder if maybe God has been keeping me from staying home in order to keep me from making my son an idol or perhaps its only to prepare me for what he has for me in the future. I will never know, but I do acknowledge that he has given me a heart for youth and women. I desire to help them grow, teach them and love them through every experience of life they go through. Most importantly I want them to know about God, the God that saved me of my own self.

    It’s been hard finding a balance between being a mom and my calling. I spend a lot of time at a high school working with youth and often that can be overwhelming. I find      myself a lot of times being too exhausted to even have the energy to play with Calvin. Weeks like these really make me ask God whether it’s worth being away from my him. But then I have weeks that are amazing, and I have a break through with a student or they ask me a question about God, that’s when I remember why I want to do this, whether it’s for a season or a life time. As a mom I fear that ministry would keep me away from Calvin and that he would resent me for it. Our family is all about ministry, (I did marry the guy that wants to be a Pastor. Ha!)

       My hope is to invite Calvin into what I love to do, and I have. I bring him Around my students, I’ve brought him to the times I’ve led devotionals for young girls and the girls I invest in get to spend time with him. That’s where I think I find balance, when both of the things that inspire me collide. I have the oppurtunity to disciple young people and also the responsibility to care for my son and his soul. Both equally important but I don’t believe I should neglect my responsibilities with my son and family over my calling. They are my first ministry, what good would it be to spend all my time working with youth and helping them grow, if my home is not growing?

       I pray that my time away from Calvin isn’t in vain, I hope that this season would be a time of growth for myself as a mom and a follower of Jesus. Nothing about your calling is easy, it’s sacrificial and takes time that often we don’t want to give up. Trust me, I would often much rather be with Calvin than at work, but this is the season God has called me too. I want to be able to use everything I do to honor him and to encourage others, it’s one of the reasons I started blogging. This season has brought me so much joy but also hard circumstance, praise God that he is faithful enough to walk us through them.

     My encouragement to you, whatever season God has called you too right now embrace it. You are in it for a reason, it serves a purpose whether you see it or not. Nothing about your calling right now should make you feel like you should be doing more. It’s about what are you doing with where you are right now?  If you’re a stay at home mom, you are doing something impactful and investing in your home and children. If you’re a working mom, you’re providing for your family while managing to serve and love them. If you’re a blogger, use your platform to honor God and allow your voice to be heard by others. Whatever you’re doing right now, is exactly what you should be doing.

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Smilingtreetoys (Review)

There’s just some baby things you never want to miss out on getting, baby blocks are one of them. There just so adorable and precious, they remind you of childhood. I knew that I wanted wood blocks even more Calvin was a thought. So I was supper excited when @smilingtreetoys ( https://www.instagram.com/smilingtreetoys) sent us over these custom-made blocks for Calvin. Their just so precious. He loves  playing with them and even loves it more when I stack them up so he  can push them down. He loves building stuff. Each block even has a letter of his name, so sweet is that! These blocks are beautifully made and add the perfect touch to any kids room. I uses them as decor for Calvin’s birthday party.

They have so many custom-made pieces for you to choose from, teethers, puzzles, ornaments, wood trucks, building blocks and so much more. If your looking for the perfect shop to buy these things, defiantly get them from their company!

I’ll hold these pieces forever.

http://www.smilingtreetoys.com/

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https://smilingtreetoys.com/collections/block-sets/products/personalized-wooden-name-blocks


The Little Homies ( Review)

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Learning our A B C’s with A B to Jay- Z and numbers with 1 2 3 with the Notorious B.I.G. Man, these books are legendary! If you want to introduce your kids to hip hop and rap legends you want to check out @thelittlehomie_ 

As a bronx girl and a lover of music, I was so excited to read these books myself. Everything about them is so much fun. From the hip hop artist to the design of the books, you can’t help but love these them. I love introducing Calvin to new books, especially ones that enjoy. The Little Homies have a few books on their page but ” 1 2 3 with the Notorious B.I.G and ” A B to Jay -Z ” are their top books.

” 1 2 3 with the Notorious B.I.G. is packed full of our most loved Hip Hop, Rap and RnB artists from then and now, with plenty of tongue in cheek references that even the bigs are sure to get a giggle from”

These books definitely should have been part of my baby registry! How did I miss them! So don’t make the mistake I did and put them on your registry! I think you might enjoy them more than the kiddos!

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“If you’re having alphabet problems I feel bad for you son.” – Jay- Z 

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Be sure to follow them on instagram and check out their website https://thelittlehomie.com


The Muddy Puddles Project

Last week I decided that I needed a day to spend with Calvin. Being a full time worker and student has been very overwhelming to say the least. I’m either at work or anxiously at home waiting for him to go to bed so I can start homework. I feel like often I’m too tired to give him the energy he needs from me, he’s crawling, standing, grabbing everything insight and I’m just sitting on the couch trying to catch a breath of air to let go of the emotional load I carry from work often. A few weeks ago I was invited to an event taking place in “The Little Gym” which is located on the Upper West side. They were having an event to celebrate the the launch of Peppa’s Muddy Launch Party. But before I tell you about the party I have to tell you about the charity behind it called “Muddy Puddles Project” 

The Muddy Puddles Project is a celebration of children and childhood, it is the shift towards letting go of the everyday stress and finding the fun in all the messy things.

( Lord knows I needed to hear the story behind this project. I’m always freaking out over messes! Just keeping it real with y’all. )

” It was inspired by Ty Campbell, a little boy who absolutely LOVED Peppa Pig and dreamed of jumping in muddy puddles just like her when his cancer was cured.  The project embodies the act of kids being kids in honor of those who can’t. Ty passed away back in 2012 and he is finally free to jump on muddy puddles and be a kid.

At its core, The Muddy Puddles Project is a vehicle to remind parents to stop sweating the small stuff; but it is also a fundraising platform for the Ty Louis Campbell (TLC) Foundation in support of childhood cancer research.  In 2017, The Muddy Puddles Project became the official charity partner of Peppa Pig, enabling the nonprofit to meet more families, far and wide, and raise awareness for childhood cancer.” ( Taken from their website)

At the event we got to meet Ty’s mother, what a brave woman she is and I admired her courage to start something so amazing that speaks so profoundly to parents. I’m constantly complaining about Calvin’s messes or avoiding putting food in front of him so he won’t through it everywhere. And here I was being told to embrace those messes because the reality is that many children don’t even have the chance to be just kids. I think as a new parent I’m learning about picking my battles wisely. Do I really want to stress over peas being all over the floor? or the fact that Calvin got his shirt dirty? When I get the chance to watch my son be a kid, make messes, laugh, jump, cry and give me a million kisses throughout the day.

This event reminded me why I needed this day with him, yes I love my job and I’m enjoying school but I want to take in every part of Calvin for as long as I can. I don’t want to waste my time with him stressing over things that I can’t control without controlling him. I want him to be a kid for as long as he can and I want to enjoy it.

So if your like me, stop sweating the small things, let your children make a mess. Join them in the mess and enjoy it.

These are a few pictures I took of the day, we also got a really cool gift bag filled with goodies.

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Also about “The Little Gym” 

“The Little Gym is the world’s premier enrichment and physical development center for children ages 4 months through 12 years. Programs offer children a Springboard to Life’s Adventures by using movement-based learning and imaginative play to help build the confidence and skills needed at each stage of childhood.” Be sure to check out their website for more info.


Bookroo (Review)

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@bookroo_love has sent us another box of books and we are loving it. The month of September introduced us to the books “ Skip Hop: My backpack”, “Arf! Buzz! Cluck! A Rather Noisy Alphabet” and ” Peekaboo! On the farm”. Our favorite is “Peekaboo! On the Farm”, Calvin loves playing peekaboo with us. It’s our go to game when we want to keep him entertained. #parenting The animals are hiding their faces and when you open the flap… PEEKABOO! it’s a CHICKEN! ha! I love that each book is filled with colors and very detailed. I enjoyed that two of this months books had surprise flaps, those kinds of books were my favorite growing up because you never knew what you find under it.

 Bookroo is a subscription for kids that helps them fall in love with reading by combining the excitement of opening gifts with discovery of new, treasured books. Bookroo offers three types of boxes, board book (ages 0-3), picture books (ages 2-6) and chapter books (ages 7-10). Every month is a new surprise for books!

Every month you can look forward to a new theme. I truly believe this box is worth the subscription, I hope that Calvin loves reading as much as our family loves book! His book shelves are filled with books and we’re glad some of them come from Bookroo.

 

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USE THE DISCOUNT CODE : ROSDALY FOR 15% OFF YOUR FIRST BOX 

New favorites delivered monthly!

<a href=”https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1068525&u=1826122&m=66323&urllink=&afftrack=”>Bookroo’s Junior Box</a>

https://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=40&u=1826122&m=47