Mensch On A Bench – A Must Have Item for Hanukkah! @menschonabench

17 Nov


It was just two Hanukkahs ago when former Hasbro marketing executive Neal Hoffman was at a favorite retailer holiday shopping with his two boys.

“I want an Elf on a Shelf” proclaimed Neal’s 5 year-old son.

At that moment, a light bulb went off in Neal’s entrepreneurial head. Why couldn’t Jewish children and parents have their own Jewish-themed tradition…and the Mensch on a Bench was born. Mensch on a Bench became last Hanukkah’s surprise mega-hit which sold out in just 10 days, and is this year’s “Basement to Big Time” story.

As a family that celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas, I can relate to Neals story!  I suspect our Elf, Smiley, will become fast friends with our Mensch, because he does gravitate towards our menorah and driedals. :)  Check him out here.


Mensch on a Bench is a 12’’ doll with an accompanying hardcover story book that tells the story of Hanukkah from the view of Moshe the Mensch.  It introduces children to the traditions of Hanukkah and teaches them to be good and honorable people…Mensches.  The doll holds the Shamash (leader) candle and needs to be moved each night to watch over the Menorah.


In year 2, Hoffman has added new pages to the Mensch on a Bench book to teach children the Hanukkah prayers and how to play dreidel.  There is even a page to write down their favorite memories of each holiday season.


The Mensch on a Bench is fun way to start another family tradition at Hanukkah. Mensch on a Bench is available at retailers such as Target; Bed Bath and Beyond; Michael’s Arts & Crafts Stores, Barnes & Noble, Toys R’ Us and more.  Shop now at and use coupon code OYVEY at checkout to receive 10% off your order.

Be sure to check out Mensch on a Bench on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. 


Sample provided for review.




The Mid Week Day Off From School

14 Nov

Veteran’s Day was this week. I like when the kids get a break but no one likes it more than they do.

I had a few returns to make in a mall where I used to take them at least twice a month to ride a merry-go-round. It was something to do when they were babies. But would they be interested in riding now I wondered….?

It was so cute to see them hop on all next to each other. But they looked like GIANTS. It made me a bit sad to reflect on the time that’s passed by, as they rode by. Perhaps I’m feeling it more as my twins’ birthdays are one week from today…
But it was a treat to see them on the ride and then I got them some punch balloons.

We headed to my parents retirement community next where they enjoyed the swimming pool.

I love this mid-week mini breaks. What did you do on a Veterans Day?

Big Hero 6 Movie Review!

9 Nov


Who can believe Halloween is already way gone and Christmas music is already blasting in the mall!?

Well, the chaotic week of Halloween, I was battling 2 weeks of bronchitis and it wasn’t letting up!  We were invited to a screening of Big Hero 6.  I was feeling unmotivated but the kids were completely manic when they got wind of this invite and their excitement gave me the energy I needed.

And the movie did not fail us!  You know without putting myself down too much, I’m really not a big fan of kid movies………..but.  Big Hero 6 I loved.  My kids loved.  It was adorable.  Baymax is our favorite kids movie character ever….”so gentle, cuddly and cute” as my daughter says. Fair warning though.  As in most Disney flicks, someone does die, and in being the mess I was/am I even got choked up! (I think my daughter was too but she wouldn’t admit it!)

From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” comes “Big Hero 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax, a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada. When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends – adrenaline junkie Go Go Tamago, clean freak Wasabi No-Ginger, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.” Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action and all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Big Hero 6″ is directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and Chris Williams (“Bolt”), and produced by Roy Conli (“Tangled”).

We really enjoyed this adorable movie.  Check out Big Hero 6 which is in theaters now!

If you’ve seen it already let me know what you think…





Stuck in the Auto Body Shop or Tips For Getting Through Boring Appointments With Kids

6 Nov

Tuesday was Election Day, the kids had off from school.  I’m not a big scheduler on these days off because the kids have such hectic schedules altogether and I believe they need a nice day off (i.e I didn’t take advantage of the Girl Scout bowling trip or the various camps being offered for the day).  However, I do try to plan some fun for the four of us and what that usually involves is a discussion leading up to the day and a decision about what will make everyone happy.  We had decided to to head to my parents over 55 community to go swimming and that was an easy great idea.

But when I got to my car I found an alert light on and the plans had to be aborted for a moment.  Of all days!  I’m a freak about safety when it comes to the kids.  The last thing I need is to be broken down with them in the car so I told them we needed to head into the auto body shop for a quick check.  I made it very clear that it was tight in that little waiting room and they needed to not fight, wait patiently, and keep occupied.  But, if they could do it, I would take them to Wendy’s afterward, followed by the fun afternoon of swimming.


Everyone who came into the place looked at these 3 and smiled or laughed. :)
They were great, and it’s not because they are great kids.

Here’s why it worked:
1-Communication–I made it clear what was happening BEFORE we got to our destination.
2-Expectations–I made it clear what I expected in terms of their behavior.
3-Distraction–I made sure they had enough things to keep them busy.
4-Rewards!–I told them I would be happy to take them to Wendy’s (their choice) when we were through.

30 pleasant minutes later with one nail removed from my tire we drove off to a nice lunch and a great day of swimming!
How do you manage when your child/ren have to tag along to your boring appointments?

Wearing A Costume

30 Oct

A couple of Saturdays ago my husband and I had a Halloween party to attend…costumes mandatory.  For most people, like my husband, this is an opportunity to have fun and do something that he loves to do, dress up.  For someone more introverted like me, this invitation initially made me groan and shudder.

SO, I’ll back it up a bit.  My husband starts growing his beard around August every year in anticipation of Halloween to don one of his two costumes….a Barbarian or a Bavarian.  He will dress up regardless of whether of not we are invited to a party.  He will dress up to simply trick or treat with the kids, or show up at my parents over 55 community Halloween party, or just to walk around town.  I love this about him. I have the matching Barbarian costume but it’s been worn several times so I went in search of a matching Bavarian costume this year.

I found one but wow it seems all costumes are made in a very revealing fashion.  I tried it on at the Spirit Costume store and pleaded with the 20-year-old sales girl to give me an honest opinion about whether or not my 43-year-old body could pull this off.  She said I could.  I still decided to wear shorts underneath so nothing would sneak out. :)

And this was our final look as a Bavarian couple right before we took off to the party.


I still wasn’t convinced.

But we got to our darkly lit Halloween party where we saw so many fun costumes and unrecognizable friends.  We laughed so much.  It was more fun than I’ve had in a long time.  And I realized there’s something to this costume party thing.  Dressing up adds a different element of amusement and inhibition to a party.

Do you wear a costume for Halloween?


My Dad’s Birthday

24 Oct

Last weekend we celebrated my father’s 81st birthday. It was a simple family gathering with my sister and brother. Since we aren’t all together that often I thought it would be nice to snap a photo of the five of us…our primary family.

I think the birthday boy looks better than anyone…yet I know he’s going to be mad at me for revealing his age!

Happy Birthday Dad!!!!!!!

A Story About Expectations and Being A Kid

17 Oct

My son is playing on a travel ice hockey team.  Most of the time my husband and I are split up managing the kids and the activities and I’m not able to see him play. But last month I was excited that we “traveled” as a family to nearby Queens to watch him play.


I actually felt a bit anxious as the moments got closer to the game, and busied myself snapping away photos…what I do always!


When we got home I was taken by one photo in particular and asked my son about it.


“This was right before you went on the ice” I said to him, “were you nervous about the game?”  He said, “No mommy, I was just staring at the Zamboni.”

He wasn’t nervous!  I was nervous!  Hockey is his passion.  It’s about having fun.  So here I was projecting my adult feelings about the game onto him when he was just being a child, being mystified about the big truck on the ice. :)

What a great lesson for me!  I want to look at this photo forever, slow down time, and remember that he’s still my little boy. :)


City Sports Opens First Long Island Location…I Checked it Out!

10 Oct

I was invited to take a tour of the newly opened City Sports in Manhasset, NY which is the first Long Island location.  I was delighted to do so because I spend 95% of my existence wearing sneakers and about 80% of my attire is workout gear.

Started in 1983 in Boston by two high school tennis partners looking for athletic gear in their neighborhood, City Sports has more than two dozen locations in the Northeast and boasts an assortment of innovative athletic apparel, equipment and footwear.

When I entered  the store, I saw a staff person stringing a racquet which I learned that they indeed do right on the premises…pretty cool.  I was also drawn to the pink wall honoring breast cancer awareness.


And hello yoga pants!


I went downstairs to get fitted for sneakers, but I had to first spend a moment on this wall of backpacks.


I could hear my son “mom can I get this? mom can get this one?” :)  The only thing that would distract him would be to move him over to the wall of balls!



See how crazy I am?  Here I am supposed to be heading over to get fitted for shoes for ME and I have those kids on my mind…the life of a mom!

But I did make it over to the sneakers and wow…


There were so many choices…I was overwhelmed!  But I soon realized I didn’t have to be.  I met the most lovely store associate, Luis, who told me he would be fitting me with sneakers.  Yes I had been told that already but really? Do these shoe guys even exist anymore? And in a sports store? Well I’m here to tell you that they do!!!

Luis first asked me to walk so he could observe my gait and then he asked me some questions about my level of activity and where I would be wearing the sneakers.  He correctly guessed my foot issues based on his observations.  I have old lady feet people…tendinitis, fasciitis, pronation and a heel spur which require me to wear ORTHOTICS!!! That’s why I always wear sneakers.  I didn’t think I could put on a orthotic free pair that would feel better than mine. But when I put on the pair I walked away with, I swear to you I almost started to cry they felt so good!  My whole body felt relaxed!


I purchased the Brooks Adrenaline GTS and my podiatrist gave his seal of approval.  Luis also showed me how to tie them to support my ankles better.  They are wonderful.  They are a little more than I usually spend but they seem to be a great product.

Luis also recommended OOFOS thongs that would give me good cushioning.  I purchased them also and they are amazing!  Normally, I cannot wear thongs due to the lack of support they provide so I am quite excited.

I headed back upstairs to check out the women’s apparel.  I was in all of my glory.  I go to the gym 3 times a week and I end up wearing the same two pairs of pants A LOT with a skank tank top.

It’s about time I got something nice!  I ended up with the Brooks Nightlife Long Sleeve top in blue and the Brooks Infiniti Run Tight.  Though everything I went home with is Brooks, it was just a coincidence, as I saw almost every brand available.

I love the choices and the assistance available at City Sports.  Check it out!

Long Island – Manhasset
1900 Northern Blvd
Manhasset, NY 11030
Phone: 516-365-7649
Mon-Sat: 10am – 8pm
Sunday: 11am – 6pm

Apparel samples provided for review

Sadness, A Poem

8 Oct

My 8 year old daughter had a bad day the other day.  I was at work and my husband encouraged her to write about it, since she seems to love writing poems.IMG_4403


Sadness can be anywhere. Sadness can be anything.  Sadness can be dropping ice cream on the floor.

Sadness can be losing your best friend.  Sadness can effect you in many places, but mostly in your heart.

She’s having a better day today. :)

“This is The Best Day of My Life!”

5 Oct


I awoke this morning to my three hustling and bustling around the kitchen.  I heard my little one say, “This is the best day of my life!”  They were all working together for a big morning celebration of our anniversary (12 years).  This was completely amazing.  The fact that they teamed up and truly worked together for one cause…celebrating their mom and dad, well, it was the best gift we could have received.



It’s so developmentally appropriate for children to be self involved.  Isn’t wonderful when they surprise us with beautiful acts of kindness and selflessness?


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