Archive for the ‘HOLIDAYS’ Category

Organic Gingerbread Cookie Decorating

December 5, 2011

What’s more fun during the holidays than COOKIE DECORATING with the Kiddos? Maybe Organic Gingerbread Cookie Decorating with hot cocoa. Thanks butterbeans for hosting a FREE Holiday event at the Jade’s ToyBox Holiday Pop-Up store in Tribeca.

My daughter’s school is lucky to have a butterbeans organic school lunch program, but if your school still relies on processed, ready-made foods, demand better!  butterbeans’ mission is to provide healthy food for bodies and minds through tasty, nutrient-rich lunches, and fact filled wellness initiatives, that address the alarming health statistics of children today. They offer school-wide lunch programs for schools who want to offer hot lunch to their entire student body, and wellness education programs in and outside of the classroom. They use the most local, organic, seasonal food possible, and find ways to add nutrition to every bite.

If you missed the fun at the store this weekend, come next Sunday at 11:30 a.m. for a repeat!


JTB Holiday Pop-Up Event Calendar

November 30, 2011

Join us at the Jade’s ToyBox Holiday Pop-Up now through December 28 for these great holiday events for young kids & families:

everyday, anytime…
Santa Letter Writing. From paper and stickers to stamps and stencils, we provide all the eco-friendly materials so kids can create their letters for Santa and mail it to the North Pole.
The ‘Not A Box’ Contest. A childhood idea of transforming a brown box into a TV set was the impetus for the JTB product box and the installation at the JTB Pop-Up Store. Show us your ingenuity. Transform a simple brown box into the invention of your choice, explain it and enter to win a $150 Jade’s ToyBox gift card.
Holiday StoryTime, By Kids, For Kids.
Bring the kiddos in for holiday story time and hear special guest kid ‘authors’ share an excerpt of their favorite prose too. Check JTB Blog for Schedule and Sign-Up.
saturday dec 3
Holiday Craft Workshop. 2 p.m. Using recycled and found objects, we’ll transform simple items into beautiful holiday gifts for family and friends with a little help from our in-store staff and visitng artists.

sunday dec 4
Organic Gingerbread Cookie Workshop with ButterBeans. 11:30 a.m.

Join ButterBeans for homemade organic gingerbread cookie decorating and hot cocoa fun!

tuesday dec 6
The P.A.L. Workshops @ Jade’s ToyBox presents Supporting Early Giftedness Through Play: A Hands-On, Play-Based Workshop for Parents.  Just in time for the holidays, this play-based session will help parents support their child’s strengths, with games and strategies to help toddlers and preschoolers develop a love for learning, and get ready for kindergarten.6:30 p.m. $Register @

saturday dec 10
Holiday Cookie Swap with MiniMunchers. 2 p.m.
Join MiniMunchers for an organic twist on cookie making! They’ll teach the kiddos how to make healthy, yummy homemade cookies for a holiday cookie swap.

sunday dec 11
Organic Gingerbread Cookie Workshop with ButterBeans. 11:30 a.m.

Join ButterBeans for homemade organic gingerbread cookie decorating and hot cocoa fun!
The Sock Monkey Workshop. 2 p.m.
Bring in your non-stinky, recycled socks and let’s put them to good re-use as a great holiday gift. We will have classic sock-monkey socks for sale on-site too.

saturday dec 17
Holiday Craft: Musical Instrument Workshop. 2 p.m. Using recycled and found objects, we’ll transform simple items into awesome musical instruments that make great holiday gifts for family and friends.

sunday dec 18
Holiday StoryTime, By Kids, For Kids. 2 p.m. Bring your kiddos in for holiday story time and hear special guest kid ‘authors’ share an excerpt of their favorite prose too.

and more…
Holiday Dining Classes with socialsklz:). Check dates and Register @ the JTB Pop-Up
Studiotime with Hudson Soundlab. Sign-Up fast to record your original music, poem or book reading. Makes great gifts for family & friends. By appointment. Several packages are available until Dec 12.

Sign-Up at the JTB Holiday Pop-Up Store or call 212.343.8881 to guarantee a spot for our great line-up of holiday fun.
Location: 124 Hudson Street, between N. Moore & Ericsson Place in Tribeca
Hours: Monday and Friday from 9 am-7pm, Tuesday through Wednesday and Saturdays from 11 am -7 pm, and Sundays from 11 am-5 pm.

The Jade’s ToyBox Holiday Pop-Up Store is Back

November 30, 2011

  Join us now through December 28 for great prices on toys, books, games and gift items for the kiddos this holiday season at our 4th Annual Jade’s ToyBox Holiday Pop-Up Store in New York City.

The Pop-Up Store is filled with a great selection of eco-friendly and educational toys, unique gifts for kids and expecting mommies, and family activities held weekly throughout the holiday season. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to support children’s non-profit organizations including The Speyer Legacy School Scholarship Fund and The Children’s Storefront School in Harlem. The grand opening of the store, located at 124 Hudson Street near N. Moore in TriBeCa is this Wednesday, December 1, 2011. Store hours are: Monday and Friday from 9 am-7pm, Tuesday through Wednesday and Saturdays from 11 am -7 pm, and Sundays from 11 am-5 pm.

Stay tuned for our event schedule, featuring Holiday Craft Workshops, a Holiday Organic Cookie Swap, a Sock Monkey Making Workshop, Santa Letter Writing, Storytime for Kids By Kids, a Holiday Talent Show, the JTB ‘Not A Box’ Contest and much more!

The Jade's ToyBox Holiday Pop-Up Store is Back

Doing Disney

December 3, 2010

"Mommy, it made my belly feel funny...I want to ride it again when I get bigger."

Disney…The dreaded trip for us; the perfect trip for our daughter’s fifth birthday.

The last thing a New Yorker wants in a vacation are lines, uncontrollable kids and bad food. So the idea of going to Disney for four days during Columbus Day holiday weekend wasn’t up there with Turks & Caicos, or even staying in NYC for that matter.

But what a pleasant surprise. We stayed at a Disney property for two days, the Grand Floridian and an offsite hotel for two days, the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, near EPCOT, that shared many perks of a Disney resort like convenient transportation and Magic Hour benefits.

We went back and forth on the idea of having a Disney tour guide. I know, I know…And although the thought of a $250 per hour guide (minimum 4 hours) to take us around to skip lines and show us the Disney ropes was tempting, but I thought it sent the wrong message to my kid. And then she’d always expect such luxury and extravagance. Truth be told, I was probably considering this for the benefit of my husband and me– selfish reasons, so I turned it down. Well, until 2 days before the trip when I thought “you only turn 5 once, and Disney is supposed to be magical for little girls, right? ” so a friend shared her insider unofficial guide who charges $85 an hour with no minimum. And we went for it… Again, sort of… Until he called the day we arrived in Orlando with unfortunate news of a death in the family so he was not available. But he did an amazing thing… He gave me the keys to the castle. Or close enough.

And here’s how we did Disney’s Magic Kingdom in a day…

First, bring your own umbrella stroller with everything you and your kid need when you travel. You know what that is, and clearly wet wipes are high priority, although Disney has nice clean bathrooms everywhere, so you’ll be fine. Next, have a plan of action or you’ll be wandering aimlessly for hours. Lastly, allow for spontaneity and enjoy every minute of it.

Most Important Tips:

If you have a young kid who may not ride the faster or scarier rides, Disney has a switch-off program that couldn’t be cooler. There was no way my husband and I were leaving the park without riding Space Mountain. It was his first trip to Disney too. So my daughter and I waited while he rode it, and when he got off, he and my daughter waited while I ran back up the employee exit- I guess- to have my turn. It’s a great program.

The other super important fact is the FastPass. These passes allow you to get a reservation for a ride that is available at a certain window of time so you have to plan a bit. Secret is, even though the FastPass gives you a window of time in which to ride, you really have until the ride closes to take your ride. So we grabbed a FastPass every chance we could. And keep in mind that once you get one, you can’t get another for a little while, so bank them and use them when the lines start getting longer.

Take advantage of the park the moment it opens, have one spouse or teammate go get the first FastPasses, while the others get in line for another ride with no line; but a ride that may fill up quickly as people arrive at the park.

Breakfast with champions, or Disney characters anyway– Apparently people sign up months and months in advance to have breakfast with the Disney characters. We were told that if you arrive the second they open at the Grand Floridian you actually have a great chance of being seated. And we did. At both hotels we did this and it was a complete surprise that our daughter- who often snubs her own grandfather- couldn’t wait to get the autograph and a photo with every last one of them- Mary Poppins, the Mad Hatter, Goofy, Pluto, you name it…

Tigger and friends at the Grand Floridian character breakfast

Ok, the rides:

The riders, we’ll say, are Sally (mom), Dick, (dad) and Jane (the 5-year old daughter).

Sally, Dick and Jane wake up at 7am, get to the Grand Floridian character breakfast when it opens at 8 am, and spend the next 45 minutes eating a decent buffet while getting photos and autographs of a number of Disney characters, including Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Alice in Wonderland and more.

Sally, Dick and Jane take Jane’s umbrella stroller and head by monorail to the Magic Kingdom the moment it opens. Dick bee-lines it straight to a FastPass ride, Splash Mountain in Frontierland, while Sally and Jane head to Fantasyland to ride the starter fun rides like Peter Pan’s flight that doesn’t yet have a wait. Next up, Dumbo the flying elephant or It’s a Small World, though the classic was closed when we were there. By that time, you can probably get your next FastPass, so have a member of your entourage grab the Buzz Lightyear FastPass while you mosey over to Mickey’s Toontown Fair to enjoy a snack and walk though the Mickey and Minnie’s country houses, and then ride the Barnstormer rollercoaster, a great ride for little kiddos.

Use the Splash Mountain FastPass before heading back to the hotel for lunch and a rest or swim in the hotel pool for an hour or two. This is the saving grace of this whole thing… The park is packed and now is the perfect time to refuel. The kids love it, you’ll love it, and everyone wins. And don’t leave the park without grabbing one last FastPass for later. Sally and Jane grab an ice cream cone on Main Street while Dick grabs a FastPass for Space Mountain.

The afternoon parade on Main Street

After your relax, head back to the park, and catch a bit of the parade down Main Street. If your kids want more Disney character visits, take the time to go to Toontown Hall of Fame while the parade is still going to avoid long lines. Have Dick grab one more FastPass as you head to Toontown, consider the Big Thunder Mountain train coaster, or another ride your child liked a lot. Meanwhile use your Space Mountain FastPass and do the switch-off so both parents can ride it if the kids aren’t up for it, or tall enough.  Jane wasn’t ready to ride it, although she rode Splash Mountain twice, but we did notice some other 5-year-old kids on it.

Next catch the Carousel of Progress or Tomorrowland Transit Authority-still a favorite chill-out that snakes through Space Mountain and Tomorrowland. The Astro Orbiter let’s you fly outside in a spaceship, and despite being a bit loud, was a fun way to end the day. If your kids are a bit older or more adventurous- translation, they’re ok with faster roller coasters or potentially scary rides, you can also consider ending the day with Big Thunder Mountain railroad.

Even on busy holidays, it’s pretty manageable, or at least it was for Sally, Dick and Jane.

Other rides and shows to see if there is time or you need a chill-out:
• Jungle cruise
• Mickey’s Philharmonic
• Monster’s Inc Laugh floor
• Walt Disney World Railroad

Don’t waste your time with:

Tomorrowland Speedway. The steering was hard and the ride super duper slow. Boring!

Resources and Tools:

• The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2011


•  the IPhone App, Walt Disney World Park Hours

The Damage: $2223, family of 3 for 4 days at Disney (exclusive of airfare, meals, souvenirs and snacks)
Grand Floridian- $400/nt x 2 nts = $800
Walt Disney World Swan Hotel- $229/nt x 2 nts= $ 516
AAA membership= $48
Disney tickets with AAA membership= $859.
For 2 adults, 4-day base ticket with park hopper and one child, 4 day base ticket with park hopper

That was one expensive trip for a theme park. I cannot imagine how the average family of 4 can afford this even with a hotel that’s half the price.

The Takeaway: Despite the cost, it was a great time and the October weather was excellent. We couldn’t believe how clean and organized it was. We were expecting the worst and instead had a wonderful 5th birthday celebration. Dare I say we’re considering another trip again soon!

It’s Here…

December 1, 2010

And don’t miss our Holiday workshops and events for kids throughout the month of December, including:

Holiday Craft Events for the kiddos throughout December

Storytime for Charity,
Check out a slew of great authors at our Storytime for Charity every Saturday at 2 pm in December. Following the reading will be special Holiday Activities for children ages 2-6, with parent involvement. FREE

2:00 pm SUNDAYS
Santa Letter Writing Workshop,
A story is followed by a letter writing workshop for Santa Claus. We’ll help kids create their letters for Santa and we’ll even help mail it to the North Pole. Stickers, letter fun and writing helpers will be on-hand. Don’t forget to tell Santa Claus what you want for Christmas, like a greener planet, cleaner oceans and healthier toys! FREE

DECEMBER 1 at  4 pm-
JTB kicks off our Holiday Craft Wednesdays with a special gift for all attendees.

DECEMBER 3- Santa arrives! Free Portraits from 3-6 pm

DECEMBER 4-5- Santa is here! Free Portraits  11:30- 2:30 pm

DECEMBER 4- at 2 pm, Storytime for Charity with Ole Saint Nick, himself.
We will have a special guest reader, Santa Claus himself. And with a $20 suggested donation, you can sponsor the story. Just bring in your child’s favorite book or let us choose the story and use your child’s name as the character of the book, as Santa presents Storytime for Charity on December 4 at 2 pm. Call ahead to sponsor, or come and hear him for free! FREE

DECEMBER 4- at 3 pm- Holiday Dining Classes for Kids with socialsklz:-) tools to thrive in the modern world. FREE

For kids 4 and up, prepare for the holiday season’s frenzy of fancy dinners 
and festivities during a 25 minute session covering how to set 
the table properly, how to eat and use utensils, mealtime 
manners and more.  NYC based socialsklz:-) offers interactive workshops for children and young adults featuring social interaction and communication skills, or what was once known as manners and etiquette! RSVP to

DECEMBER 6- drop-in from 11 am- 2pm. The Photo Project Workshop $45/hr

Have your baby and kiddo photos runneth over? If you are like me, with four years of pictures and memorabilia in boxes, now is the time to get it together. This ain’t no scrapping workshop! A former magazine picture editor will work with you to edit the best images and discuss ways to organize into traditional albums, digital photo books, 3-dimensional shadow boxes, framed art objects or other unique storage ideas. RSVP to

December 8, 4-5 pm- Holiday Cookie Decorating Workshop with Taste Buds & MiniMunchers FREE

Join Taste Buds and MiniMunchers for Gingerbread Cookie Decorating! We’ll have yummy Gingerbread Cookies, Icing and Sprinkles to help you celebrate the Holidays in style. RSVP to

DECEMBER 11- at 3 pm- Holiday Dining Classes for Kids with socialsklz:-) tools to thrive in the modern world. FREE

For kids 4 and up, prepare for the holiday season’s frenzy of fancy dinners 
and festivities during a 25 minute session covering how to set 
the table properly, how to eat and use utensils, mealtime 
manners and more.  NYC based socialsklz:-) offers interactive workshops for children and young adults featuring social interaction and communication skills, or what was once known as manners and etiquette! RSVP to

DECEMBER 12- at 12-3 pm- Care for the Critters Workshop FREE

Parents and kids can drop in anytime between 1 and 3 pm to learn about different breeds of animals, their temperaments and what to look for in the right pet for your child. The Animal Haven Mobile Adoption van will be on-site for pet adoptions, and those less inclined for the real deal, can always adopt an OOMFY, one of our endangered species, of the plush variety! Lots of fun free activities learning fun for kids 2-6 years, including a perfect pet checklist, an adoption certificate and animal activity handouts.

DECEMBER 15- at 4 pm- Alfabeticos Workshop FREE

The Bilingual Arts sampler for kids ages 1-5  incorporates music, art and storytelling aimed to develop social skills, cognitive and fine-gross-motor skills and Spanish vocabulary.

DECEMBER 17-19- by appointment- A Rare Opportunity for your Child to be Photographed with the 20×24 Polaroid Camera – One of only a handful of such cameras in the world, the 20″ x 24″ Polaroid camera produces large format instant photos and will be available for a fee, $1500 for 3 prints. (that’s $1000 off normal pricing!)  RSVP to

DECEMBER 18- at 2:30 pm- A Surprise Musical Concert by our Emmy nominated favorite band FREE

DECEMBER 19- at 2:30 pm- Holiday Craft Workshop with NatureBag.

Create a one-of-a-kind gift inspired by nature with NatureBag and NatureRocks. For kids 3-6+. RSVP to

DECEMBER 22- at 3 pmThe Last Minute “I-Forgotta-Gift-for-Blah-Blah” Holiday Workshop FREE
Forgot to make a gift for gramps or your nanny? No worries. We’ve got a great last minute holiday craft activity guaranteed to put a smile on, well, Blah, Blah. Perfect for kiddos ages 2-6.

DECEMBER 22- at 4 pm- Architecture Workshop for your lil Green Builder with brinca dada.

Your kid love to create, construct and build structures? Be sure to join us for our free architecture introduction for kids ages 5-9 by brinca dada,  and see how the Emerson Dollhouse was created. RSVP to

Other Fun By Appointment:

And All That Jazz!: Sign-up for a unique one-on-one recording experience, with studio time at Hudson Soundlab. Kids and adults can perform original music, or read from their own or favorite story, with back-up from Emmy-nominated musicians, Robby LeDoux and JZ Barrell Call Jade’s ToyBox for more details @ 212.343.8881.

Mother’s Day to Father’s Day is National Family Month

May 10, 2010

National Family Month? Who knew the five weeks from Mother’s Day through Father’s Day has been a confirmed “observance” for more than a decade. As a former magazine editor, I was always amazed at the “holidays and observances” I had never heard of that apparently were recognized as actual holidays. Admittedly, many seem ridiculous or are very specific, like National Oatmeal Month, National Salad Month, Better Sleep Month or Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. But I like it, all serve a purpose.

If I created a holiday, here would be my list: in memory of my grandparents, I’d opt for “National Polish & Russian Combo Month,” or for kids, “Check Your Belly Button Month,” or “Be An Animal,” “Support the Zoo and Adopt a Pet” Month.

In all seriousness, National Family Month is a great idea. What better excuse to focus on our family heritage, spend quality time together (without technology), establish relationships with extended family- even in other parts of the country or the world, renew old traditions, share our family stories and rediscover the importance of family involvement at home and at school while supporting each other.

The  Me & My Family Tree is the perfect box to complement National Family Month. It includes a carefully vetted selection of books, toys and games that help kids explore their heritage, their culture and even language. And best of all, it’s customizable, with foreign language books, blocks and games to make it your child’s very own. At Jade’s ToyBox, we also can create a custom version of our Bambino Box and Bilingual Box that make great gifts too.

And if you have any suggestions for a specific box you’d like to see at Jade’s ToyBox, let us know, we’re always open to new ideas.

Keep it Natural Honey Bunny

April 2, 2010

This Easter Holiday, it’s tempting to grab a ready-made Easter egg color kit from the store, but with all of the negative reports on food dyes, try these natural colorants from vegetables and fruits for Easter eggs  instead.

Simply boil the eggs and cool. Prepare the dyes below by boiling most vegetables or fruit skins first with minimal water to release the color in the water. Remove the skins, peels and pour liquid into small cups or bowls deep enough to fit eggs. When cool, add a few teaspoons of white vinegar to the color dye and dunk your egg. Longer soaking times means more vivid colors.

Great tips: Use wax crayons to write messages, names or pictures on the eggs before dying for fun results.

For Yellow: orange or lemon peels, ground cumin or tumeric, onion skins
Red: pomegranate juice, raspberries, canned cherries, red onion skins, beets,  cranberries or cranberry juice * lighter soaking yields pink
Blue: blueberries, grape juice, boiled red cabbage leaves
Green: asparagus or spinach leaves, yellow apple peel
Brown: tea or coffee, dill seeds
Orange: carrots, paprika

And please send us your recommendations for other variations too!