What Happens in NYC Ends Up Here

A few weeks ago I wrote about the things that I wanted to do while my sister and I were in New York City for some blogger conferences. We did most of the list.

All Aboard!
All Aboard!

Dylan’s Candy Bar- We went there and I finally got the Bean Boozled jelly beans for my kids, I couldn’t find them anywhere in Rhode Island. They were able to do the challenge. I also sent them a giant box of candy that arrived before I got home. Ted said they were flipping out!

Kraus House Mom
Lots of spending on these corners

Sprinkle’s- Guess what, I was not meant to get a cupcake from the ATM. We got there and it would be 30 minutes while they refill it. Someday, Sprinkle’s, someday.

Big Gay Ice Cream, High Line
THE BEST ice cream (American Globs) and a view from the High Line

Big Gay Ice Cream – I have been craving it since we left. I was SO GOOD!!!! I ordered American Globs, vanilla soft serve (I prefer soft serve) covered in chopped pretzels (not tiny ones either) then drenched in chocolate. Oh sweet mother of pearl, it was so worth the trek to the West Village.

Chelsea Market – So much goodness in there. But, the highlight of being there was when Tami chased down Wallace Shawn. If you don’t think you know who he is, guess again. Since The Princess Bride is our all time favorite movie, Tami and I got a picture with him. Mr. Shawn, sorry she chased you down, but thank you for the highlight of our trip.

Kraus House Mom
INCONCEIVABLE!!!!
Kraus House Mom
So Much to see, eat and buy

The High Line – What gorgeous views, and so many spots to sit and relax. It was a relaxing walk and it seemed much shorter high above the street. I probably would have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t 117 degrees outside (it really wasn’t, but it was hot).

Mood – We popped into Mood while we were on our way back to our hotel after our pub crawl (more on that later). I grabbed Maizie a tote bag and she has been carrying it around like it’s filled with gold.

Kraus House Mom
Maizie needed a Mood tote

Central Park – By the time we were near the park it was kind of dark and neither one of us wanted to be the subject of an SVU episode, so we decided not to go.

The Subway – I loved riding the subway! Once I figured out if we needed to go uptown or downtown, we were like pros. Unfortunately I didn’t see any interesting characters while on it.

Kraus House Mom
Quick and easy trips

Minus 5 Ice Bar – As much as we wanted to go, we couldn’t fit it into our schedule. I will go there someday!

There were places we went and things we did that weren’t on the list.

Bloomingdale’s – Tami needed to get new shoes while we were there and as we came out of the subway she saw Bloomingdale’s. So, in we went. Did you know that if you are visiting from out of town you can show you license and get a coupon?

Pub Crawl – We happen to have gone until 3:30pm on Wednesday only eating a box of Mike and Ikes. By then we were STARVING so we went to have a bite to eat. Of course we had a beer with our burgers. Then we noticed Happy Hour started a 4pm and beers were only $4. Being good Irish girls; we ordered another (once it was past 4pm). We were headed back to our hotel and saw another drinking establishment that we HAD to go patronize. We started our own little pub crawl.

Kraus House Mom
Lots of drinking

Eating Al Fresco-We ate outside at a Mexican restaurant. It was just like you see on TV. Of course, because something is always going on in NYC there was construction going on at the corner where we ate and another restaurant down the block had it’s fire alarm going off constantly.

We headed to a very crowded Times Square a couple of times, because it was only a couple of blocks away and why not?

Times Square

While we were walking in Chelsea, Ty Pennington walked by us. Tami was too busy looking at the tiny dog next to us, because she probably would have chased him down as well.

After a few days and approximately 50,000 steps, we were ready to head home. Next time we will conquer more of the Big Apple (I’m coming for you Sprinkles!)

Kraus House Mom is Changing!

Many of the changes are taking place behind the scenes, bit the results will make for a more robust and exciting experience at Kraus House Mom!  There will be plenty of posts about the kids, the 80 pound lap dog and even the Kraus House Dad might show up from time to time, but one of the most important additions will be dedicated to product reviews and companies that our family has come to know and trust.

As always, my site will be as honest as it has always been.  I look forward to relaunching in the coming days and thank you for your patience.

Have fun and don’t sweat the small stuff… (spoiler alert: It’s all small stuff!)

Heather – AKA: The Kraus House Mom

Sunblocking with Block Island Organics #Review


You know that person that burns in the sun, no matter how much sunscreen is put on? Well, that’s my daughter Maizie.
I can apply it every half an hour and the girl will still get a burn. It gets to the point where she’s smacking me away causing a huge scene (okay, it’s probably me causing the scene because that’s how I roll).
I was given the opportunity to try Block Island Organics Sunscreen. I figured, it’s organic and it’s local.

Block Island Organics grew out of Koru Eco Spa and a desire to provide safe, effective, and pleasing suncare products.
 

Our mission is to give everyone access to safe, effective, and lovable non-toxic suncare products. We believe in living outside and enjoying the sun and not hiding from it. With a little sun knowledge and the right sunscreen you can live our mantra: “Play Smart, Play Safe.”

I believe when you want something tested for quality assurance, it should be under the harshest conditions. If you’re going to test an umbrella, do it during a torrential downpour, not a light drizzle.
Well, I tested Block Island Organics under some harsh conditions. I used the fairest of them all (Maizie) in Disney World, on a 90 degree sunny day.

My husband slathered her up with the SPF 40 and we were off to the Magic Kingdom for the day. He did say it was kind of thick when he put it on, but once it was rubbed in, she didn’t have a greasy sunscreen feel to her. I feel that if it’s a bit thicker, it’s easier to see if you’ve missed any spots.
All day Maizie kept checking her shoulders to see if it was working, it was. By the end of the day, she was going on and on about how great the new sunscreen worked (believe me, she’s a tough critic).
 

This was at the end of the day…NOTHING!!

With it being organic, being local (in Rhode Island) and having the convenience of the ingredients listed on their website so you can check their EWG ratings, I say Block Island Organics is a winner.
You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as well.
Happy Sunning!!

Loving Cheese…Sargento Ultra Thin #Review


It’s no secret I love cheese, it’s my favorite food. When I was given the opportunity to review Sargento Ultra Thin I was thrilled.
I received my Voxbox from Influenster and inside was not only the voucher and a coupon for Sargento Ultra Thin, but a snazzy lunch bag as well. BONUS!!
 

My VoxBox

I brought my post workout snack in my new Sargento lunch bag
I took my sidekick with me to pick out my (yes my) cheese. Stella saw they had Swiss (her favorite), so I got Swiss and Pepper Jack. I couldn’t wait to try it.
 

My sidekick and I took a while deciding on which flavors

Sargento Ultra Thin is great in sandwiches and just to shovel into your mouth (that’s how I ate most of mine).
Pepper jack and turkey sandwich
 
I made sure my husband knew that I needed to know what he thought of it. He confirmed my experience. The Sargento Ultra Thin slices melt beautifully, whether in the microwave or just placed on hot scrambled eggs.
 

Melting over a burger

Adding an extra kick to my morning
They only have 45 calories or less per slice which is great and they are full of flavor.

Disclaimer:  I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. The opinions are all mine.
 

B-I-N-G-O


A couple of weeks ago it was my anniversary and my husband and I always go to the casino and play bingo. We have been doing it for years and we will probably keep doing it for many more.
 

It was double hardway bingo and all I needed was B 13

As we were sitting there waiting for the game to start (you need to get there early to make sure everything is set up properly) I made some observations and as the night went on, I made more.
Here’s what I spy at bingo…
There are a lot of leggings, ill-fitting ones.
The hacking coughs will not stop the chain smoking.
There is always a caller you can’t understand.
Some people set up a shrine to the bingo gods in hopes they get to shout it out.
There is no shortage of ass cheeks hanging over the sides of the chairs.
If you’re looking for a unique article of clothing with some sort of wildlife on it, you’ve come to the right place.
There are people who take the “dress codes” to the extremes. Some people look like they are about to hit a club downtown while other look like they’re about to hit the sack.
Someone will always snicker at O 69.
There will be at least 3 false “bingo” calls.
Someone will have a bell and ring it when a number special to them comes up (it was O 66 this particular night).
There will be people who eat for the entire 4+ hours.
Someone will steal a shitload of Sweet n Low from the drink station.
You can always find a “regular” to help you and answer any questions you may have.
And my favorite situation…
I will be one or two numbers away every other game!
Once again I only needed one number, did they call it? NOOO!

20 Questions for Stella on Her Birthday


Today is Stella-Blue’s birthday. I always have a tough time with her birthday because she’s my tiny baby. I told her we were going to skip her birthday this year because I didn’t want her to get any older, but she assured me that she would always be me tiny baby and I could still call her that even when she’s and old lady.
How old are you?     6
Opening her gift

What did you get for your birthday?     Caroline Abbott (An American Girl Doll)

What is your favorite color?     Purple
What is your favorite TV show?     Spongebob Squarepants

Blowing out her candle

What is your favorite toy?     Lola (her doll with the missing bow)
What do you want to be when you grow up?     A fairy
What sport do you play?     Soccer
The soccer star

What are you good at?     A lot of stuff…jump roping, art and being the goalie
Good morning birthday girl!!

What is your favorite food?     Candy, chocolate
What food do you hate?     Burnt garlic
What is your favorite outfit?     My butterfly dress with the sparkles
What is your favorite song?     Katy Perry’s Dark Horse
Taking her birthday calls

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?     Coffee
Who is the best in your family?     My whole family
What is your pet’s name?     Bama
What makes you happy?     Camilla (her best friend at school)
What makes you mad?     When Maizie hurts me
Kraus House birthday breakfast

What’s your favorite thing to do in school?     Play with Camilla
Who is your teacher?     Ms. Pelland right now because Ms. Ferns is getting a new knee
Where do you want to go on vacation?     Disney Parks 

Happy Birthday to the tiniest Kraus!!! (Little does she know they’re going to Disney in 18 days)

I’m Not Naming Names, But…


There is someone in the Kraus House who is a nasty skevortz. I know it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. Let’s face it, it could be any one of them (not me of course).
Someone went outside and got a little too cozy with nature (dead nature).
Auntie Rey and I could tell something funky was up when we could smell the offending party from across the room. The offense has only one punishment…a (dreaded) bath.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, this is the offender.
 

Never trust the innocent look

She needed a bath, desperately. And much to her chagrin, she got one.
Then you know what happened to Little Miss Fancy Pants Alabama Worley? Since there wasn’t a chance in Hell that smelly ass collar was going back on her neck (it was going straight into the garbage), she got to take a trip to the pet store.
 

Wish I had that much bling

So she rolls around in filth, gets a bath, then she gets new bling and her nails done. And she can’t leave the pet store without a bone.
 

Of course, a bone to chew on, for a day

Man, she’s got the life.

Just a Typical Morning


On any given school day, this is pretty much how I sound.
Time to get up.
What do you want for breakfast?
Do you want ____?  (Reply: Well, …)
Yes or no?
(More suggestions follow)
Go get dressed.
(10 minutes later) Are you guys dressed?
(I go upstairs and see various stages of undress) Didn’t I ask you to get dressed?
Where did your clothes go?
You’ve got 5 minutes and then I come upstairs with the squirt bottle.
(Stella comes down completely dressed including accessories)
Where are your socks?
Brush your hair.
I don’t know where the brush is, it should be in the drawer in the bathroom.
Why are there still dishes on the table?
Brush your teeth.
Where are your socks?
You don’t brush your teeth in the living room.
Can you please go get the lunch bags?
Do you want a cheese stick?
It’s a yes or no question.
Did everyone brush their teeth?
Why not?
Where are your socks?
Put your socks on and get your shoes on!
Have you looked in the mirror?
Take a look and tell me if you need to do something.
Oh for the love of all that’s holy (and most likely some profanity) WHERE ARE YOUR SOCKS??
In the car, I’m leaving!
Anyone else out there have “trying” mornings?

Today…We Bowl


I love bowling. Whenever I go I have visions of a Grease 2 flash mob breaking out. Then I look around and realize, it’s all in my head. Here I am with my three kids, if there’s any dancing, it’s not going to be choreographed (or coordinated for that matter).
One of the bowling alleys near my house (there are two) was having a vacation special. Since Stella had never been and Maizie hadn’t gone since she was really little, whether or not they we going to have fun was a crap shoot. So this was a perfect opportunity to give it a whirl (and it wasn’t snowing).
Someday I’ll get a nice picture

We go in and they are fascinated. They always are whenever we go somewhere new.
We get our snazzy shoes on and go to gather our balls. The girls wanted to choose their ball based on color and Teddy wanted the heaviest ball he could possibly find. No, no, no that’s not how it works. Finally after some negotiations we had the balls we needed. The names were put into the scoreboard (remember when you had to do it with a pencil), the first ball ready to be thrown.
All she wants is…EVERY pink ball they have

Oh wait a minute, I look down the alley and then at those three. Every single ball they roll would end up in the gutter, so we had the bumpers (gutter guard) raised. Teddy thought he was “the Dude” (despite the fact he had never been 10 pin bowling before) and promptly got his ball stuck mid-lane. Really? Are you ready for the pro circuit now? Once he listened, he got the hang of it.
Did “the Dude” start out like this or did Munson end up like this?

Besides thinking he was “the Dude” he found the fact that he got to wear special shoes awesome. Then they deliver pizza and a “whole pitcher” of soda right to you. Not to mention he gets to throw heavy things. He got to throw things, eat some pizza, have some soda, throw things again, eat more pizza, have more soda and this went on for a couple of hours. He was loving it.
What is better than this?

The girls developed their own technique for getting the ball to hit the pins. Apparently if you squat down and lean to the side you want the ball to go to while making a frame with your hands at the pins you wants to fall will, .03% of the time. A Stella made up a special “I hit some pins” dance. And Maizie made sure the balls that came up the return were organized by color.
Part of her ritual

Waiting for the (pink) ball

I on the other hand did pretty well. Maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t drinking. But, I did get four strikes, yes you read that correctly, four strikes! I also got three spares but, those were absolutely because the bumpers were up. I may have scored the highest…EVER!!
Two strikes in a row!!!

The tie was a topic for discussion on the ride home

We had a fantastic time and the kids can’t wait to go back. I did, of course, make some observations.

If you are there with two kids, it is NOT necessary to take four of the 6lb balls. It’s school vacation and those are at a premium. You sir are just an asshole.
The amount of excuses some people will make about why they did badly is amazing. “The ball slipped.” “I took too many steps.” “My finger got stuck.” Just get over it. Me, I just go with it and say, “Well that sucked!”
Sitting on the (only) step and blocking our way to go back and forth to get our drinks and pizza is just obnoxious.
The senior citizens that bring the assload of snacks crack me up; cookies, candy, coffee cake, you name it, they had it.