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I recently took the kids to the Children's Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) in Troy.  CMOST is a wonderful spot for kids of all ages and we really enjoyed our visit. 
I'm not a big fan of driving in Troy, but I was able to easily find my way to the museum.  They have a big parking lot and a ramp to accommodate strollers.  Robby walked and I had Angie in the stroller. 
Upon entry, we were greeted by a friendly gal at the front desk who encouraged us to get busy with the exhibits.  The museum is small, but contains many interactive exhibits that my kids enjoyed including a weather broadcast simulator, Operation Wild the reptile exhibit, wind power generator, recycled object art project area, a cool dome theater, interactive play room and lots more.  Movies in the dome are $1 per person and last about 20 minutes.  We attempted an astronaut movie, but Robby got scared. It would otherwise have been a cool experience though.  We recorded our own weather broadcast in front of a green screen and got to watch a play-back.  We learned about wind power, gravity, played with magnets, and watched a lizard eat lunch.    

One thing I really liked about CMOST is that they have a really nice kitchen/dining area open to all.  We brought snacks and drinks and were able to sit down in a bright and clean room (with high chairs & booster seats) and enjoy.  You can see it in my picture below.  I like being able to pack a lunch and have a nice spot to eat it.  They have a vending machine, but no other food for sale.   

CMOST offers mommy & me classes, summer camp programs, annual memberships, and they have birthday party packages.   I think it would be a really nice spot for a party, if you don't mind driving a little.  CMOST is definitely worth a trip to Troy!  It's educational and fun for kids of all ages. 

Address:
Children's Museum of Science and Technology
250 Jordan Road
(in Rensselaer Technology Park)
Troy, New York 12180
Phone:
518-235-2120
Email:
info@cmost.org
Admission is $5 per person (under 2 are free). 
CMOST is closed for maintenance but will reopen on Thursday, September 16th.

 
 
Name Bubbles
I'm pleased to announce the next MaltaMama Review & Giveaway from Name Bubbles
Name Bubbles is a baby and kids label company owned by a Saratoga mama Michelle Brandriss   Name Bubbles labels are vinyl and durable as heck!  They are created using  a non-toxic, eco-friendly ink and can be used in all conditions. 


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Name Bubbles labels are dishwasher, microwave, and laundry safe.  Ordering Name Bubbles labels is so easy and actually fun!  You can customize your labels by choosing your fave color scheme, icon, style, font, and so on.  There are literally hundreds of combination's.  As you can see, I went with the rocket and robot for Robby using a blue/green palette, but I had an extremely hard time choosing because there were so many cool styles!  So they look cool, but do they hold up?  OMG, yes!  I put my labels to the test; dishwasher, washer/dryer, rain boot, backpack, and so on.  I even put a label on my ski this winter and after a day on the slopes, the label was in perfect condition.  These labels have endless uses.  As you know, kids have so much gear and stuff, it's so hard to keep track of!  I know you'll love these labels and I'm excited to offer a chance to win. 

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Want to win a
Name Bubbles Camp Pack?
(Camp Pack: 108 labels in various shapes and sizes)
Here's how to enter!

1 Entry -  Visit Name Bubbles and comment here about one cool feature of the labels or what you'll use them for.

1 Entry - 'Like' BOTH MaltaMama and Name Bubbles on Facebook and leave an additional comment here that you do. 

1 Entry - Follow BOTH ColleenPierre and NameBubbles on Twitter and comment here that you do.


Enter by Tuesday, May 24th at 8pmEST.  Good luck!

 
 
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Julie is a reader of MaltaMama and recently sent me a link to her website Flower Bands by Julie .  I really liked her stuff and lucky for me AND you, she agreed to do a giveaway!  Julie provided me with a sample 'flower band' shown here.  As you can see, it's very delicate and feminine (but keep reading, VERY sturdy too!)  I wanted to wear it around during my normal routine to see how it would hold up.  The bracelet has a magnetic clasp that is SO strong, I don't think it will ever fall off.  It feels weightless on my wrist and does not interfere with anything; like computer keyboard, clothes, etc.  
I have to say, I'm not really a bracelet wearer, partly because they tend to get in my way.  This is definitely an exception.  I haven't taken it off since i got it in the mail!  A perfect Easter accessory. 

And now for your chance to WIN a mama/daughter set of flower bands!
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Three easy ways to enter!  (and three chances to win)

- One entry:  Visit Flower Bands by Julie and leave a comment here with your favorite bracelet 

- Second entry:  Visit Flower Bands  by Julie and click the link on the right to 'Share on Facebook'.  Comment here on MaltaMama that you've done so

- Third entry:  Visit Flower Bands by Julie and sign the guestbook!  Comment here on MaltaMama that you've done so

Enter until 8pm EST on Thursday, April 14th.  Winner will be chosen using Random.org.  Good luck!

 
 
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 I love that I have sometimes have the opportunity to receive and review some amazing products for kids, like these blankets from Peacock's Crafty Heart!  Angie got to 'review' the pink one and Robby the guitar print.  They are both beautifully sewn with great attention to detail.  As a (beginner) sewer myself, I can appreciate the workmanship.  They are both very generously sized as you can see from the picture below, Angie has a lot of room to grow! 
Angie's review:  I really love my new blanket.  Mommy put it on the floor and it made such a comfy surface to play on my tummy and practice my army crawl.  When I fell on my face accidentally, it was soft as a cloud.  I now use it as my one and only crib blanket because mommy said I'm old enough to use a big girl blanket.  The pattern is perfect for me because it is hip and trendy without being to princessy. 
Robby's review: I love guitars.  When I saw this blanket, I pretended to 'play' one of the guitars.  I pretty much won't sleep or nap without it now.  It's really comfy and nice, and the pattern is rockstar, like me. 
Mom's review: These are not blankets you would find at Babies r Us.  They are unique, handmade, quality products that you will WANT to keep for a long time and even pass down to a niece, nephew or friend.  As you can see from the packaging above, they would make great gifts.  The patterns are modern and funky and again, not the stuff you see in every store.  They are both backed with the softest, most cozy material.  They are warm and cozy but not too heavy. 

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Angie cuddling with her new favorite blanket.
A special offer for
MaltaMama readers:
Peacock's Crafty Heart is offering MaltaMama readers a 20% discount until March 8th.

Visit the store and use discount code: MALTAMAMA20

 
 
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January Review & Giveaway from
Jennifer Pondillo Photography


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I had the pleasure to work with Jennifer Pondillo Photography recently.  Jennifer allowed me to 'review' her services and had me and the kids come to her in-home studio for a session.  I was a little nervous because we hadn't really done professional pictures  before.  Jennifer and I spoke on the phone prior to the session and she completely put my mind at ease.  While we could have done our photos at any location, our home, park, etc, I chose her home studio and was glad that we did.  She has a beautiful finished basement/playroom/studio which is perfect. 

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Here is what I really liked:
- Jennifer is super easy to work with, flexible, professional, patient, and great with kids
- It was a completely relaxed session (with the exception of my crazy toddler)
- Jennifer has ideas and suggested the 'ruffle' pictures of Angie which ended up being my favorites!  (not something I would have ever thought to do)
- The sitting was a full hour so you're guaranteed to get nice shots, and have time for wardrobe changes!
- In her studio, Jennifer has tons of props to keep the pictures interesting and unique
- She puts 'sneak peak' shots on Facebook and her blog; ideal for sharing with family! 
- Her pricing is very reasonable and can be found here on her site. 

I highly recommend Jennifer for photography services; in studio, on location, birthday parties and anything! Visit her website for more info and to see more samples!

Now for the Giveaway! 
Jennifer Pondillo Photography is graciously giving one lucky MaltaMama reader a Short & Sweet mini print package ($75 value)!
This package includes a 30-45min. session at location of your choice and ten edited images ready to be reviewed for selection of your print package (prints sold separately).  The winner can also choose to upgrade to another package.

 
Here's how to enter:
1.  Visit Jennifer Pondillo's blog and mention something about it here in the comments field - 1 Entry

(Ex: I like how she describes recent sessions on the blog)

2.  'Like' BOTH
MaltaMama and Jennifer Pondillo Photography on Facebook and comment here that you do - 1 Entry
Enter until 8pm EST on Wednesday, February2nd.   Winner will be chosen on Thursday, February 3rd. using Random.org.  Good luck!

 
 
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Me carrying Angie in the Beco
It's a slow week for activities in part because of the Veteran's Day holiday and also because it's that awkward time before holiday mayhem.  So I'm going to take this time to talk about some of my favorite things that have made my life as a mother that much easier.  Today, I will talk about baby carriers, specifically my personal favorite, the Beco Butterfly
If you see me out and about, there's about a 75% chance that I will be wearing Angie in my Beco carrier.  I was always a 'baby-wearing' mama with Robby, but it became even more so when Angie came along. I found there was no other way to get anything done if I did not carry her. The Beco carrier is expensive ($140), and I really hemmed and hawed over this purchase, but I have no regrets.  It is similar in design as the Ergo carrier; a soft-structured carrier but much prettier.  No offense to Ergo-lovin' mama's, but they just look too hippie for my taste.
Here's what I like:
* It looks pretty and I feel comfortable wearing baby
* Comes with an included infant insert that can be easily removed or adjusted
* A little strap-happy, but literally adjustable for any shape and size
* Front or back carry but like Ergo, baby can't face out
* Can be used from 7lb-45lbs
Although it would be nice, I'm not getting a commission from Beco for this positive review!  I just like to share the things that make my life easier!  What are some of your favorite things? 
 

 
 
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This is my son Robby and daughter Angie in a Foxy Baby Designs headband.  Obviously Ithink she looks cute because she's my child, I have no choice, but I don't think I was the only one.  She got so many compliments from strangers on the day she rocked this headband it was almost overwhelming.  The thing I really liked about the headband was that it actually stayed in place (for the most part) the whole day.  It didn't bother Angie at all either.  I've seen other headbands similar to this and the flowers are either ugly and gigantic or small.  This was a perfect size and added a nice touch to plain outfit or even more flair to something special. 

The cool thing is that Foxy Baby Designs owner and mama Kyla Scherer is giving you a chance to win one of these great headbands and a cute beanie hat seen below!  Beanie fits 12months+ and is made of soft cotton. 

visit foxy baby designs etsy store!
Giveaway Details

You have until 8pm EST on Wednesday, October 20th to enter. Winner will be randomly selected using random.org 

Entering is easy!
Visit Foxy Baby Designs  Etsy Store and leave a comment on this MaltaMama blog post with what your favorite 'Foxy' item is! 
To leave a comment, click on the green 'comment' text in the upper right hand corner of this blog post. 

 
 
Arizona Pizza
I find that lately I get so much gratitude when we have a successful outing with the two kids.  Mama's of more than two, please bear with me here as I know your life is far crazier than mine!  Anyway, we recently went to Arizona Pizza for dinner in Clifton Park.  It's across from Clifton Park Center and near Toys R Us.  Several factors made this dinner out a success: the food was great and came fast, our meal was relatively cheap, the service was good, and the best part was that every booth has a small TV in it with just about any channel you can imagine.  That was the key factor in the success of this dinner with a toddler.  I would definitely go back and recommend Arizona Pizza.  They are now offering a special where kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree.  Definitely check them out! 
Arizona Pizza -  Clifton Park, NY
5 Clifton Country Rd
(518) 383-5460


 
 
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If you've been to Wilton Mall in Saratoga anytime in the past few months you're crazy to have missed Super Bounce which has nearly taken over the food court!  I've been avoiding the food court the past few visits knowing full well that if my son even glanced at the bounce stuff he'd be begging to go.  I decided to succumb to the bounce and took him.  The sign quotes two rates, $5 for an hour or $8 for an all-day pass, however they offer a $3 1/2 hour pass as well that is not advertised.  I opted for the 1/2 pass because I did not feel like he needed a full hour of bounce.  I was right, 1/2 hour was plenty.  It was a nice experience and he had a blast.  There are three bounce areas; the big Lightning McQueen slide (which my son loved), an open area that has some farm-like bouncy things, more appropriate for the litlte one's and a third sports-themed bounce area.  Our visit was mid-week and around 11am and at that time it was not too busy at all.  Weekends and evenings may be a differen story.  

Another neat thing they offer is babysitting for $8/hour per child.  I don't think that's bad at all if you have an errand to run in the mall or just want a moment to shop by yourself.  In my case, it would have saved me a trip home with ill-fitting Abercrombie jeans that I was unable to try on in the store due to my children. (and to the fact that the cologne smell and blasting house music nearly made me pass out).  Let's not talk about the fact that after two kids and weight to lose that I actually thouht low-rise Abercrombie jeans would fit... haha, yeah right.  Back to the bounce.  Overall our experience was pleasant and I can see us visiting again on an upcoming raining day.  

To reserve babysitting or for more info, call: 518-265-3911

 
 
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I've been meaning to visit the Adirondack Museum for a while now, but since I haven't been to provide you all with a review, I had a guest blogger do it!  Kristen Champion-Terrell talks about her experience there...

We recently took a family trip to the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake with our children, ages 1 and 3, and Grandpa. The museum is set up much like a village, with a large open courtyard in the center. Various exhibits and authentic historic buildings frame the museum courtyard. Much of your time will be spent outdoors – props to museum curators for reinforcing this fact of life in the Adirondacks. The museum provides engaging, hands-on activities for children at every turn, including authentic Adirondack games and toys, craft projects, a stocked trout pond, lean-to and camp structures, a turn-of-the-century steam engine that children can explore, and of course, Adirondack chairs of all sizes! The Great Outdoors exhibit is designed specifically for children and provides a small rock-climbing wall and various creative play opportunities. Slightly older children can climb to the top of the Whiteface Fire Tower. One of our favorite exhibits was the original Reising Schoolhouse, a one-room schoolhouse stocked with craft activities for kids, entertaining photographs, and a knowledgeable volunteer. The traditional outdoor schoolyard is full of authentic Adirondack toys. I loved watching my father play with my daughter – he had a great time showing her how to play with the new toys. Don’t miss the replica Rustic Gazebo, also full of play and learning activities for families.
This museum provides an opportunity for fun and interaction among family members of all ages. If you choose to visit the museum, plan to spend an entire day together enjoying traditional Adirondack activities. After our visit, it is easy to understand why the Adirondacks were considered a turn-of-the-century summer paradise for families.

The museum’s Adirondack Harvest Festival is this weekend, October 2-3. Don’t miss cider pressing, wagon and pony rides, and music by Bill Hall!

Museum Hours: daily from 10am to 5pm
Open May 28—Oct 18,  so get there in the next couple weeks or else wait until next year!!
Rt. 28N & 30, Blue Mountain Lake, NY 12812    518-352-7311