We drove I-95

Written by Role Mommy Contributor, Danielle Feigenbaum
DSFLA.JPG I do not like the cold, winter is not my friend. One of my favorite times to escape the cold New York winters (even though this winter was a pleasure!) is while my kids are off from school President’s week in February. Since we couldn’t quite afford to escape to some tropical island, we started to think about less expensive options. My best friend since High School happens to live near Orlando, Florida, which takes care of our accommodations, but flights nowadays are a fortune. So, we decided to drive. I know you are all thinking I am crazy with two kids (ages five and eight) to spend so many hours in the car. But we looked at it as an adventure. Quality family bonding time on the open road. And let me tell you, it was a huge success!
If you decide to drive down to Florida from anywhere on the east coast, here are some useful tips that will help you plan your adventure!
First, either buy or take out of the library, the book, Drive I-95! It was our bible for the entire trip. The book offers easy-to-follow mile-by-mile maps showing services on each side of I-95: motels/hotels, gas stations (even 24-hr ones), restaurants, ATM machines, auto mechanics, supermarkets, malls, golf courses, campsites and pharmacies. Fun stories – history on I-95, museums, trivia, towns to explore or places for kids – will entertain and entice motorists to discover someplace new. Having little kids who will have to use the bathroom at a moments notice, it was super helpful to know when the next rest stop or gas station would be. When you make a stop, be sure to let the kids run around for a few minutes. Many rest stops have grassy areas, perfect for a quick game of tag!
We split the trip into two days going down and two days coming back. We slept in Florence, South Carolina going there and Richmond, Virginia on the way home. The kids were so excited to all sleep in a hotel room together. I found very reasonable rates on hotels via Trip Advisor, with a hot breakfast included and an indoor pool so the kids could swim before we got back on the road.
I recommend packing breakfast and lunch for the first day on the road, to minimize long stops as well as unhealthy fast food joints. We also packed a cooler full of water and other drinks to save money and stay well hydrated. There is usually a Cracker Barrel restaurant every few exits you can can stop at for a meal, since it’s fun for the kids.
There are so many amazing places to see in the South. If you have the time, you can make a detour to Colonial Williamsburg or spend some time at the beach in Hilton Head. We went about fifteen miles off 95 to have lunch on the river in Savannah and drove around the historic town. Our friends who also drove down spent some time in Charleston, and loved it there too. On the way home we drove into Washington DC and stopped at all the major monuments, it was very cool.
The most important thing is to have fun! The kids will follow your lead. They watched movies and of course played video games, but we also played concentration, Geography, and the “A my name is…” game. We even listened to some good books on tape (101 Dalmatians is four hours long!)
I am so happy we drove I-95! We have private jokes we are still laughing about and made memories that will last a lifetime. Believe it or not, I would actually do it again!

THE OLIVE BRANCH: RED & YELLOW’S NOISY NIGHT

New Children’s Book: THE OLIVE BRANCH: RED & YELLOW’S NOISY NIGHT
By Josh Selig
image003.png THE OLIVE BRANCH: RED & YELLOW’S NOISY NIGHT is a delightfully charming bedtime story book that teaches children about conflict resolution and mutual respect. Written by Josh Selig (founder of Little Airplane Productions and creator of The Wonder Pets) RED & YELLOW’S NOISY NIGHT shows children just how easy–and fun!–it can be to get along with others.
I put the book to the real test… reading it to my children. My 8 year old daughter loved the illustrations and thought that it had a wonderful message. The book is aimed more towards ages 4 to 7, perfect for my 5 year old son. He loved it and tried to sound out the words and read to me, which I love.
This adorable book is based on an animated TV series that currently airs on over 100 channels around the world. With simple text and humorous illustrations, RED & YELLOW’S NOISY NIGHT provides the perfect peace-keeping message for children and the adults who love them.
Here is some wonderful praise for “THE OLIVE BRANCH”:
“What I admire about The Olive Branch is [it] demonstrates that our conflicts can be resolved with joy, humor, and true compassion…” –Deepak Chopra
” [The Olive Branch] reflects many of the goals we seek to achieve…” –Karen Cirillo, UNICEF
This book would make a great gift our buy it for your own little munchkin.
Click here to buy on Amazon.

Take Back the Kitchen with Alma Schneider

Spinach Linguine with Breadcrumbs and Pistachios:
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As we all know, making separate meals for others can be a deterrent to cooking. The beauty of this new Al Dente brand pasta is that I don’t have to fret making two meals if I have a friend over who is vegan or a picky family member-I just add cheese to mine and leave their’s without. This is called Bona Chia Spinach Linguine and it is so tender and mild tasting, your kids won’t realize it has spinach in it.
Here is how I built my pasta dish:
Spinach Linguine with Breadcrumbs and Pistachios
A tongs full of cooked Bona Chia pasta
a drizzle of walnut, truffle or olive oil
A sprinkle of seasoned bread crumbs
a TBS or two of pistachio nuts
Grated mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top
salt and pepper to taste
YUM!!!!
For great recipes, visit Alma at Take Back the Kitchen.

Travel in Style Event

Contributor Maria Colaco shares the inside scoop on all things travel thanks to the ladies at Trumpeting Media
The quartet of entrepreneurial ladies who make up Trumpeting Media hosted a fabulous event at New York City’s posh Peninsula Hotel. There above all the noise and traffic in midtown Manhattan, a collective of 30 plus of the most influential bloggers in the NYC tri state area gathered for a TRAVEL IN STYLE event.
Whether it’s a walk to the park with the strollers, a last minute car pool ride or over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s, traveling with kids can be challenging and often times stressful.
The Travel and Style event featured key sponsors and participants with products that help with everyday or extended travel.
Here are my top MUST haves to travel in style!
Baby Cargo – An uber stylish new line of baby gear that goes against the norm for baby colors. This trendy line uses inspiration from architecture, fashion and design to create subtle color combinations and designs for Stylish parents.
Citrus Lane – A subscription based company, Citrus Lane sends you monthly packages of the best eco friendly and healthy products to get you ready for that trip to the in-laws. I loved our reusable snack pack!
The Peninsula – New York – A 5 star AAA Five Diamond rated hotel, this is a destination for style conscious parents. In the heart of Midtown Manhattan, The Peninsula has a variety of Family -Friendly amenities for families!
Bubble Bum – I love this product and have used it several times. already! The first ever-inflatable booster for those last minute car pools. Imagine heading to Florida to see the grandparents’ and.no more bulky booster seat! The bubble bum fits in your purse…no joke! You can use it on the airplane. www.bubblebum.com or Target.com
Buggy Guard – No more worrying about people stealing your strollers… the buggy guard gives parents peace of mind when traveling to zoos, theme parks and more.
California Baby – Aromatherapy products for baby on the go. Calm your fussy baby with some natural and organic products that smell amazing! These on-the-go products are TSA compliant.
Cuddly Blankets – Puppets and blankets all in one! A total must have for any travel plan!
Keep up with all the Travel in Style activities:
Twitter Party – Monday, March 19, 2012 8:30 – 9:30pm EDT Follow #Travelinstyle @babycargo @nancy_horn @primetimeparent
Travel in Style Contest – This 6 week contest runs from March 12 – April 27, 2012 http://babycargo.com/travel-in-style
How do you Travel In Style? What are your go to products?
A couple of pictures from the event…
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Take Back the Kitchen with Alma Schneider

P1100364.JPG With bathing suit and strawberry season nearing, let’s kill two birds with one stone! This fresh salad with put you in a warm weather state of mind!
Strawberry Salad:
6 cups leafy green lettuce (preferably organic)
1 cup sliced strawberries (preferably organic)
2 TBS nuts-I like pecans
2 TBS grated or diced chunks of a cheese of your choice, I like the robust Parrano
Toss together and add dressing of your choice. I always opt for my Maple Soy Dessing:
Serves 4 as a side salad
Maple Soy dressing:
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil
3 TBS soy sauce
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
Whisk all ingredients together until fully combined and refrigerate. That’s it!
For great recipes, visit Alma at Take Back the Kitchen.

The Long Goodbye

SCAN0230.JPGOver the last few weeks, my 16 year old cat Rudy has been failing. Throwing up uncontrollably, losing his appetite and hardly having enough strength to walk up the stairs to our bedroom where he sleeps with my husband and I every night.
Rudy was in all honesty, my first baby. When my husband and I were still dating and moved in together, we brought along two kittens, Rudy and Oliver. Rudy was named for then mayor Rudy Giuliani (I have no idea why) and his brother Oliver was named after the first Manhattan building I ever lived in, the Oliver Cromwell. When we first took the two beautiful Maine Coons home, they were feisty, fast and could easily jump from the floor to the top of my seven foot armoir. But that was 16 years ago – before marriage, before kids and before my cats got old.
Sadly, Oliver passed away five years ago – the same year my dad suffered a heart attack, Oliver was diagnosed with stomach cancer and managed to hang on for a few months until his body gave out on Christmas night. When we buried Oliver down the hill from our home, Rudy watched from the window and you could see how sad he was after losing his brother.
While losing Oliver was hard on us, we were all okay because we still had Rudy – my baby who would sleep on top of my head as a kitten and proceeded to sleep with me every night since. When I was busy writing a blog post or a chapter for one of my books, Rudy was right by my side all the time. In fact, he’s with me now too, except now, as I wipe tears from my cheeks, I have to slowly say goodbye to my precious kitty.
After we rushed Rudy to the vet a few weeks ago and he was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid, we thought that all we’d need to do is give him medicine twice daily and he’d be okay. But that was just the beginning. After spending a night at the vet, we took Rudy home and he seemed to have bounced back for a few weeks. But then, just three days ago, he couldn’t stop throwing up, lost his appetite completely and was lethargic and sad. My husband took him to the cat hospital at night and then the following morning, we both decided to take Rudy to the vet where he was given an ultrasound to uncover what was wrong with him.
When the vet returned to the room after the ultrasound was complete, I could tell something was wrong. While my husband and I sat in our seats, he crouched down to eye level and broke the news. It appears Rudy has a lymphoma that is ravaging his intestines, liver and kidneys. While we decided not to operate to confirm the results (he’s too old for surgery), we opted instead for Rudy to be given medication that could prolong his life – for a few weeks or months.
And so, we wait. We wait for Rudy to get weaker and sicker and contemplate the inevitable. I’m going to have to say goodbye to my beloved cat and I have to say that I am devastated. While my mother in law is the ultimate cat lover, every time she lost a cat (she has 10 of them), I could never understand why she was so upset. Now I do. My very first cat is slipping away before my eyes and I don’t want to lose him. At this point, all we can do is pet him, kiss him, care for him and tell him how much we love him. While we may not have that much time left with him, I want him to know that he will forever be in my heart.

The Biggest Loser Bat Mitzvah Challenge

So Valentine’s Day has come and gone but that’s okay, I am still determined to shed more weight in time for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. We’re nearly two months away and I’m down nine pounds with nine more to go. Take a look…

Kicking and Cleaning with Electrolux!

Written by Role Mommy contributor, Danielle Feigenbaum

Kelly Ripa.jpg This past week I was lucky enough to attend an event at Chelsea Piers with my eight year old, soccer-loving daughter, Alexa. Kelly Ripa and World Cup Champion Brandi Chastain teamed up to host a soccer clinic for dozens of aspiring soccer stars. The duo promoted a real game changer in the laundry room — the Electrolux Perfect Steam™ washer which gets clothes cleaner than any other washer. Spring is right around the corner and with that comes Spring sports and lots of stains on uniforms. However, the Electrolux Perfect Steam™ washer and dryer makes laundry easy – getting clothes cleaner than any other washer.
“I love doing laundry,” said Ripa. “I look at soccer uniforms as the ultimate challenge – the grass stains, the mud, the smell, it’s no picnic, but I revel in being able to remove them all and my Electrolux Perfect Steam™ washer and dryer help me do just that.”
The Electrolux Perfect Steam™ washer has the largest capacity, big enough to wash the whole team’s laundry, and then some. Plus, with the fastest wash and dry times of just 29 minutes (15 minutes to wash, 14 minutes to dry), love that! We all have such busy lives and that is a major time saver.
“As a World Cup Champion soccer player, I’ve washed a lot of uniforms during my career but nothing compares to the laundry I do as a mom,” said Chastain. “And with my new washer from Electrolux, my clothes get cleaner than with any other washer. So I can spend less time on laundry and more time at my kids’ games.”
Another huge plus, Electrolux washers are also eco-friendly. They are up to 161 percent more energy-efficient and use 63 percent less water. What’s more, the ENERGY STAR qualified collection offers vibrant designer colors, including Red Hot Red, Mediterranean Blue, Silver Sands and Island White, to inject today’s laundry rooms with an energizing sense of style. It is even safe to wash your children’s precious stuffed animals.
If all that hasn’t sold you, for every appliance bought, Electrolux will donate $1 to Ovarian Cancer Research. The entire Electrolux appliance collection is available nationwide through select independent appliance dealers and at Best Buy, Lowe’s and Sears. To learn more about the new appliances and how you can help support OCRF (Ovarian Cancer Research Fund), visit www.electroluxappliances.com
The campaign also encourages parents’ to share their kids’ proudest moments on www.facebook.com/Electrolux. Electrolux will donate $1 to OCRF for each moment shared.
Alexa and Brandi Chastain!
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Future Soccer Stars
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Take Back the Kitchen with Alma Schneider

Quick, Easy Dinners!
If you are in need of a REALLY quick and easy dinner, try my friend Julie’s simple Lavash Flat Bread Pizza. She and her daughters have a great time assembling these healthy treats and as we all know, the family that cooks together, eats more healthy food. Enjoy these three different varieties to please all palates.
Lavash Bread can be bought in Costco and many other supermarkets.
1) Italian= tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, and broccoli
2) Greek= tomato sauce, feta, kale, and tomato
3) Mexican= cheddar cheese, black beans, corn, and tomato
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For great recipes, visit Alma at Take Back the Kitchen.

Starstruck at the Disney Fantasy Christening

2012-03-01_20-21-32_161.jpgI have to say, when I received an invitation to attend the christening of the Disney Fantasy, a brand new cruise ship that will sail out of New York Harbor beginning this spring, I jumped at the chance. You see, I am a serial cruiser. I’ve been on every cruise line known to mankind, except for Disney. While I’ve heard great things about their ships, we just haven’t gotten around yet to hopping aboard and partying with the likes of Goofy, Mickey and Donald Duck.
But something tells me that my family is definitely going to want to cruise to Castaway Cay with Disney. From their “water coaster” to Broadway quality entertainment, to delectable food, top notch service and a tween/teen lounge, it looks like the Disney Fantasy thought of everything.
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As for the Christening of the ship, I had a feeling Disney was going to pull out all the stops and that’s exactly what they did. From Neal Patrick Harris hosting the entertainment portion of the evening, we were treated to a series of hilarious parodies, a sampling of the cruise line’s shows, comedy with Jerry Seinfeld and then a very special christening ceremony with Mariah Carey and her husband Nick Cannon.
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The star-studded event also included sightings of Tim Gunn, Ty Pennington, Alan Cummings, Mayor Bloomberg and Disney head honcho, Bob Iger. The excitement on the ship was purely electric and what made the experience even better was the fact that I had the chance to see some of my favorite blogging moms. Take a look at the photo above courtesy of Colleen Padilla’s awesome husband, Mike.
For more information on how you can get in on the fun by taking a Disney Cruise out of New York, visit their website and book your trip right away!