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1.27.20 – 6 Ideas for Toddler Play Dates!

There’s nothing more fun than spending time with a friend. Play dates are an excellent way for your little one to use their imagination and practice their social skills. If you’re interested in hosting, be sure to read this list of fun outdoor and indoor activities for toddlers. Each activity is unique, engaging and educational, but be sure your toddler is dressed appropriately. Best of all, they’re easy to manage and don’t take much time to plan. We can’t wait for you and your child to discover your favorites! 


  1. Laughing & Crafting


Play dates don’t have to be complicated to be memorable. There are plenty of activities for toddlers at home that will have your child laughing and learning something new. If you have a few minutes to plan and a moment to stop by the store, we recommend holding a craft party.


Place a large piece of paper or a square of canvas on the floor of your playroom or garage. Tape it to make sure it’s secure and then let the kids go crazy with toddler-friendly washable paint. Provide paintbrushes or just let them use their fingers and hands. Make sure they’re wearing older clothes you can throw away. When they’re done painting, you can gift the artwork to their friend or display it for the next time they come over. Other fun ideas include layering different colors of sand into a Mason jar to create a take-home keepsake. If you want to join in, you can help the toddler twosome make their own friendship bracelets. Don’t forget simple holiday ornaments, handprint turkeys and other seasonal crafts.


  1. Cooking & Eating


Inspire your child’s inner chef by holding a play date with a cooking theme. The activities don’t have to be unsafe or difficult. An appetizer party is straightforward and doesn’t require any baking. Gather ingredients like celery sticks, almond butter and raisins to make Ants on a Log. You can also create mini sandwiches or a custom fruit salad by letting each child choose their own types of fruit.


If you don’t have a problem supervising the oven, a little pizza recipe is fun. If you ask us, it almost feels like crafting! Toddlers also enjoy helping make roll-up snacks with tortillas and fun ingredients such as cheese and deli meat. Before you begin, have a conversation with the other toddler’s parents to check that they don’t have any allergies. You’ll also want to know if they’re vegan or vegetarian.


  1. Walking & Exploring


When the weather is nice, take your play date outside. The park, pond and beach are all exciting places to walk around and discover new items. Trek through a tree-lined nature trail and discover different colored acorns or leaves. If you’re romping around the shore, work to classify different types of seashells.


Toddlers also like to talk about birds, trees and clouds. As long as you make a game out of it, you’ll keep the kids engaged. Invite the children to breathe in the fresh air, notice the feel of the breeze and discuss the textures they see and feel. Before heading out on a warm or chilly day, make sure everyone is wearing appropriate clothing. Hats, mittens or sneakers with grip may be necessary to have fun while staying safe.


  1. Singing & Dancing


Create a special occasion in the comfort of your home by holding a toddler dance party. Invite your child’s friend to arrive in a costume. You could also ask them to bring their favorite scarf, hat or sunglasses. Play holiday tunes, movie soundtracks or boogie down to the songs of different decades.


Take a short break for snacks or have lunch ready for after the party’s over. Encourage the kids to move their bodies and sing along. Don’t be afraid to let the parents join in, too!


  1. Brainstorming & Building


While you’re scheduling with the other parent, ask them if they can bring a couple of cardboard boxes. Designate two to three boxes per child and then have a brainstorming session to decide what to do with them. Some kids like to draw or paint on the outside to make them look like cars or boats. Others will use them as a structure for a stuffed animal puppet show.


Your toddler might want to simply push them around or sit inside them. The important thing is that they’re having fun! If you have room in a closet or inside your garage, stack them for the next play date. Many parents find they can get a few uses out of them.


  1. Watching & Snacking


Instead of going to the movies, why not make your own theater at home? First, decide on a classic kid favorite or a holiday movie. Next, plan your family friendly movie snacks. Some toddlers do fine with pretzels or popcorn, while others prefer mixed fruit, cereal bars or some organic cheese sticks.


Gather blankets, stuffed animals and pillows to make the room relaxing. You can even invite everyone to wear their pajamas. It doesn’t matter if your child isn’t ready for a sleepover. There are plenty of types of toddler sleepwear out there that look cute enough to wear outside. If it’s snowing or raining, encourage the kids to wear cozy slippers or use flashlights.


Planning a Fun, Memorable Toddler Play Date


If you’ve been avoiding play dates because you think they’re too expensive, or just aren’t sure how to pull one off, our ideas are here to help. Call the friend your child always talks about and ask their parents if they’re free this weekend. Tell them about a few of the activities above and ask which one they think their toddler would like. With your child’s enthusiasm and your thoughtful activities in mind, you’re sure to plan a play date everyone will love.


# sponsored by Gerber

Surviving the Holidays: 7 Shopping Tips for Busy Moms- October 25th 2019

Surviving the Holidays: 7 Shopping Tips for Busy Moms

The holidays are almost here! Before you know it, you’ll be grabbing the kiddos from their last day of school and daycare. On top of watching your little ones, you’ll need to make meals, entertain family and finish your holiday shopping list. If your tasks seem overwhelming, don’t worry, mama! We’re here to help you step by step. 

The following shopping tips are for busy moms like you. Each one of them will help you organize and prioritize your gifting strategy, so you end up with more time and stress less. Grab a hot cocoa and read over this list. In just a short time, you’ll be enjoying the festivities of the season.  

1. Set a Holiday Budget 

No matter if you have a newborn baby or a group of toddlers and tweens, it’s essential to be smart about your finances. Creating and setting a holiday budget will allow you to plan ahead. Once the kids go to sleep, take some time to review your bills and expenses. If you can, compare your budget to everyone’s gift list. This extra activity will help you decide how much you need to save before the holidays get here. 

Need to get creative? Store layaway can be a lifesaver. Many big ticket toys can be purchased for a down payment and then secured until Christmas. When it’s time to wrap your presents, simply pick up the gifts at the store and pay your balance. You can also examine your bills and expenses list to see what you can skip. Pause your meal delivery service for a week and eat at grandma’s—or hold a family movie night instead of going out for a fancy dinner. 

2. Prioritize Your Presents 

Don’t feel bad if you can’t buy everything. Purchase the most-wanted presents first and then worry about stocking stuffers later. Everything from bicycles to affordable holiday airline tickets can be shopped for ahead of time for the best deal. 

Start by browsing Black Friday and Cyber Monday events to see if discounts are available on the most expensive items. Some malls and department stores will even have special sales for frequent shoppers or club members. If your budget is tight, consider bargaining with your partner or spouse. Agree to buy a few favorites and then save other wish list items for your anniversary or birthday. 

3. Go Shopping Early 

Life with a little one is fun, exciting and unpredictable! By shopping early, you will be prepared for everything from seasonal illnesses to jam-packed schedules. If you are shopping for a baby, you can begin checking off your list as far in advance as you want. In the spring and summer months, everything from plush blankets to winter clothes are on discount. Just don’t forget to purchase baby clothing in the size that baby will be wearing during the holidays. You’ll also find deals on car seats, toys and seasonal keepsakes from October through December. 

Unless you have older kids, you probably won’t be interested in braving the stores on Black Friday. Instead of heading out after Thanksgiving dinner for the best discounts, look at the store ads the week before. Some items will be available before Black Friday arrives. You may even be able to access pre-holiday prices if you have a store debit or credit card. 

4. Buy Gifts Online 

Every mom’s secret weapon is to buy online. While you can finish your holiday list in your comfy pants, there are way more benefits to using your tablet or smartphone. Most stores and online boutiques offer free shipping on every item during the winter season. If you can’t get the discount on small ticket gifts, most retailers will at least ship free if you spend over $50.  

A ton of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are also available from the comfort of your home. As with the in-store sales, it’s best to research gifts and stores ahead of time. Some of your kids’ presents may be cheaper on a certain website. Some retailers will even offer deep discounts on bundles for gifts such as video game consoles. Plus, most baby stores also have Internet-based shops. You’ll be able to find all of the gifts for a baby boy or girl that you love without braving the crowds or exposing your infant to more germs. 

5. Work as a Team 

Don’t feel guilty if your budget only allows for immediate family. Buying for extended family, teachers and friends can be taxing. If you must buy a present for someone else, consider working as a team. Ask fellow class parents to pitch in for a teacher’s gift. A gift card or decorative item for the classroom are among the most affordable and meaningful favorites. 

Loved ones will have fun with a White Elephant gift exchangeto celebrate the holidays. This popular event, also known as a Yankee Swap, requires everyone to set a small budget and purchase an interesting, anonymous present. After each participant draws a number from a hat, the first person chooses a wrapped gift. The next person can either steal the first item or grab another one. The game continues until everyone has chosen and swapped a present. With the White Elephant exchange, the goal is to give and enjoy each other’s company. Best of all, most gift budgets are under $20! 

6. Ask for Help 

When purchasing a large playground, expensive piece of jewelry or a high-cost travel system, you may want to see the item in person. Instead of dragging your little one to the mall, ask a loved one to babysit. Most family members and friends in town will be happy to spend time with your sweet pea. You’ll also be able to get your shopping done faster. 

Instead of lugging around heavy items yourself, ask a store employee to help you out to your car. If you’re buying exclusively online, enlist your partner to assist. Have them watch the baby monitor or distract your toddler until you finish your list. 

7. Purchase a Few Extras 

No matter how prepared you are, it’s common to forgetsomething. This may include candy for the stocking or a small gift for your neighbor. While you’re at the store, pick up a few affordable presents. The easiest and most beloved choices include a bottle of wine, holiday baked goods and seasonal candles. 

Many brand name chocolates and sweets are available at your local discount store. At the same time you’re shopping for your kids’ favorites, you’ll be able to grab everything from holiday body wash to wreaths for as little as $1. Some restaurants even offer extra gift cards when you spend a certain amount. Give the additional card to your boss or co-worker. You can even save it for yourself! 

Smarter Shopping Means a Happier Holiday for Mom 

If you shop smart by using the tips above, you’ll feel more relaxed once the holidays get here. A stress-free mom is a happier mom, which means more loving memories for you and your children. These holiday shopping hacks work for every season, so be sure to save them for next year. You can even share them with a fellow mom. The more the merrier!

#spon #gerberchildrenswear

Moving to the Suburbs, Westchester, New Jersey, Fairfield County, Long Island? From City To- A New #FabULyssfind – October 3rd, 2019


We have a new #FabULyssfind for parents thinking about moving to the suburbs. “From City To” understands that relocating can be very overwhelming. Learn about the best schools, towns, stores, doctors and everything in between. Discover the Suburbs of New York City together with this wonderful company that will guide you each and every step of the way. You will also meet some of your new very best friends.


Q: Please tell the #DivaMom readers what inspired you to start your wonderful business “From City To” (I love the name)

A:  Over the past several years I have organized and hosted dozens of events across New York City entitled #FromNYCtoWestchesterLiving – “City or Suburbs?” I’ve spoken with future suburbanites in Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Long Island City, FiDi, Midtown, the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side – and the conversations, the questions, the concerns and the hopes around finding the perfect suburban community and lifestyle are almost universally shared.  With this in mind – we set out to create www.FromCityTo.com (ad hyperlink) – a FREE resource with a singular mission to support, educate and advise future suburbanites in their quest to find the perfect community & lifestyle to match their unique needs, wants and wishes.  

Q: I know there is so much information out there about the suburbs of New York City. How do you suggest your clients start the process of looking for a home with your company.

A:  We are focused on helping future suburbanites triangulate their unique community and home needs, wants and wishes.  The best way to get started is to register to join our community, thoughtfully fill out our questionnaire and then schedule your Suburban Success Call.  Communication is critical to honing in and matching communities and individuals or families.

Q:  How much time in advance do you think interested buyers/ renters start meeting with you. What the the process look like from start to finish?

A: We always say it’s never too early to start the process but there are some nuances.  We work with many families who are 1-2 years out who are trying to get a handle on what communities might align best with their needs well in advance of honing in on a specific house.  Other clients who are further along in the process leverage our expertise, contacts, and experience working with first time suburban home buyers. 

Q: What would you say are the most coveted suburbs right now and why?

A: In general, suburbs with easy commutes (45 minutes or less and or direct lines) with walkable, vibrant downtowns tend to be in very high demand.  Many future suburbanites are trying to take some of the city vibe and convenience with them to the suburbs.  

Q: Does your company help come up with a solid game plan for each family interested in moving?  

A: Absolutely!  We specialize in tailoring individual plans for each family and helping them reach their goals in a supportive, consultative and seamless fashion.  

Q: Where do you like to meet with the families in person and or do you Skype with them in the beginning?

A: The journey begins with registering on our website and thoughtfully filling out the questionnaire.  The next step is our signature Suburban Success Call where we dive into getting to know each other and teasing out your unique lifestyle and community needs.  Any on the ground or in person meetings happen during our Touring phase when we match you with our hand-picked and trained local partners.  We quarterback the Tours to make sure they are successful and that post-Tour synopsis either eliminates a community from consideration or helps us determine if there’s something here so we dig a little deeper together.  We are also very active during the home search phase educating and preparing clients for what’s next.

Q: What is the best way for families to get in contact with you directly? Please include your email, phone number and any additional information you would like our readers to have.

A: Communication is the lifeblood of our services.  We encourage future suburbanites to register on our website and contact us any time at info@fromcityto.com or on Facebook messenger (hyper link https://www.facebook.com/fromcityto).

Q: I know first time buyers have lots of questions. Do you suggest they write them out ahead of time before they talk and or meet with you in person? What is the best way for you to answer all of the questions.

A: Absolutely!  It’s a great idea to start a journal of ideas, considerations or things you’ve heard from family and friends.  Then it’s our role to help you distill what might be fact or fiction and keep you focused on the process from start to moving day.

Q: Is there any additional information that you would like our readers to know about your company?

A:  All of our services are FREE for our future suburbanite neighbors.  I know hard to believe but it’s true.  We can dive into the details of why during our intro Suburban Success Call.

Q: How often do you set up tours for the families to visit the different communities? Are there specific days that you like better for the families to tour?

A: We are available at our clients’ convenience and weekday and weekend tours are all possibilities.  Initially the tours are more community based.  We think it is critical to learn as much as possible about the communities and neighborhoods before honing in on the actual house.  We’ve gotten lots of positive feedback from clients who have found the tours very informative and fun.

Q: What’s one piece of advice that you would give to all your potential new customers looking to buy a new home in the suburbs?

A: It’s a process – try to be open minded and flexible.  It may seem overwhelming at first but with proper guidance and preparation it can be a fun and successful experience.  To your new beginnings!



We have a #FabULyssfind just for you/The Diller-Quaile music program on the Upper East Side 9/18/2019

We have a #FabULyssfind just for you.  The Diller-Quaile music program on the Upper East Side has everything you want in a music program and more. The wonderful music program was founded in 1920 and has continued to thrive as one of the very best programs in NYC.



Q: Please tell our divamoms about the history of the Diller-Quaile music program

A: In 1920, pianists and pedagogues Angela Diller and Elizabeth Quaile founded The Diller-Quaile School of Music. Diller and Quaile believed that the capacity for understanding and creating music exists in everyone; it was essential that their music school provide a dynamic and well-rounded experience not just for select students, but for all.

Diller-Quaile began offering Early Childhood classes in the 1960s, pioneering a unique approach to teaching music to the very young. Today, all of our Early Childhood offerings are led by experienced educators and highly trained musicians, including pianists who accompany each class in a variety of styles, in response to the children’s singing and expressive movement. We welcome approximately students per year for classes and lessons at the School, and serve more than 1,000 individuals throughout New York City through our community programs and events.

Q: What are your most popular program and or programs for the little ones?

A: Our group Early Childhood classes are our most popular – this includes everything from weekly classes for infants and babies, classes for more mobile and curious toddlers and two-year-olds, to our instrument focused classes for 3s, 4s, and 5s, like our Meet the Instrument and Play the Instrument classes.

Q: Are there any new programs that you want to share with our audience?

A: There is something for everyone at Diller-Quaile, whether you’re looking for a class to enjoy together with your child or the kind of setting where your preschool aged child can attend on their own. We also offer individual lessons and programs for students ages 4 and up, and even classes and lessons for adults.

Q: What are the costs of the programs, and how long does each program run for?

A: Costs for group Early Childhood classes range based on how many hours per week that the class meets – check out our website for full tuition information by class. The majority of our classes meet for the entire school year (30-weeks), although we do offer Music Infants and Saturday classes that meet for half of the year (15-weeks). Admission is ongoing for the 2019-2020 school year.

Q: What is the best way to contact you? Please provide your email, phone number and any other information.

A: If you have any questions about the Early Childhood Program at Diller-Quaile, please contact Marissa Curry, Director of the Early Childhood Program, a mcurry@diller-quaile.org, or 212-369-1484 ext. 40. If you are interested in instrumental or vocal programs for school-aged children or adults, please contact lessons@diller-quaile.org.

Q: Please tell our audience about the teachers and their training.

A: Our faculty is comprised of experienced and credentialled professional performers and music educators. Diller-Quaile faculty members are graduates of exemplary conservatories, colleges, and universities: 75% hold master’s degrees, including ten (10) with doctorates.

Q: What is the philosophy behind the program?

A: We believe that the best way to develop as a musician is to make beautiful music. Each class session is a unique musical experience, where your child will be immersed in collaborative music making with their peers and professional musicians. Key to the Diller-Quaile approach is the collaboration between students and teachers, creating a child-centered, musical environment within every class.

Q: How many children can be in a class? What is the parent teacher ratio?

A: Depending on the age of the children, our classes may have up to 12 students. The teacher/student ratio in our Early Childhood classes is 1:4.

Q: What age is the earliest that you would recommend a parent sign their baby up for the program?

A: We offer classes beginning at 3 months of age, but as we like to say, it’s never too early and it’s never too late to start.

Q: Please tell our readers about the adult classes, I know many of our parents like to classes as well.

A: Diller-Quaile has a thriving Adult Department, which includes individual lessons for beginners through advanced players, chamber music ensembles and workshops, and performance opportunities. We also offer free concerts and musical events for adults throughout the year, along with lectures and appointments with our Child Development Consultant, Dr. Elaine Heffner. Parents and families are also encouraged to become involved in our community by joining our active Parents Association, which supports fun family events throughout the year.

Q: Can you please tell our readers about your instrument and voice programs.

A: Diller-Quaile offers comprehensive instrument and vocal instruction for students age 4 years to adult. Our offerings include individual lessons, group classes and ensembles, performance opportunities, and our High School Certificate Program. We offer instruction in guitar, harp, percussion, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, voice, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, recorder, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, and tuba.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?

A: If you’re curious about the School and our programs, consider joining us for one of our monthly Rug Concerts! It’s a great way to learn more about Diller-Quaile, and also a fun musical experience for young children to enjoy together with their families.



Two #FabULyss YouTube Videos Below For You

Welcome to Rye Brook and 20 Beachwood Boulevard




Q: What do you see as the biggest trend right now on the market for families looking to buy homes

A: It has become a real buyer’s market.  Home prices have come to more realistic numbers combined with lower interest rates it is a great time to be a buyer!  Buyers are looking for move in ready homes that offer close proximity to the train and yet afford them enough space to have a great backyard. 

Q: Where are most of your listings? What are the popular suburbs right now? I know they are always changing.

A: Most of my listings are in Rye Brook.  But my team has listings all over the east side of Westchester.  Larchmont is always a hot town because of the great stores and restaurants coupled with its walkability to the train. Many of my city buyers start in towns that are closest to the city and as they see what they can get for their money they expand their search a little more north.  They ultimately decide on a town that is north enough that they get value but still very commutable the city.

Q: How do you work with your clients? Do you like to set up an in person meeting first? What’s the best way to get in touch with you? Please provide your email and any other information. 

A: I first start with an initial phone call.  I get to know them a little bit better and what they are looking for.  I help answer all their questions, educate them on the market and the towns and then guide them to what towns would be the best fit based off their criteria. Many of my buyers know nothing about Westchester so this call is very helpful.  The next step is they come up to Westchester and I tour them around the towns of interest, and we see some homes so that they can get an idea of what they can get for their budget.  This helps them define exactly what they are looking for, as many times they don’t really know until they see it.  After the tour, I continue to update them on new listings, price reductions, off market opportunities and overall marketplace conditions.  This continued support carries through the purchase and I remain a great resource once they move into the community.  I help connect my buyers to people who live in the town with kids similar ages, local contractors, great restaurants, etc. 

My contact info is as follows: (m) 914-727-0169, (e) kori.sassower@compass.com or I can be found on Instagram @korisassower or on Facebook @korisassowerrealestate

Q: Please tell us about your experience working with Compass, anything in particular that you want our readers to know about?

A: Compass has been in Westchester for 1 year, but in its 7 years it has completely disrupted the industry with a single mission: to help everyone find their place in the world.  It’s a truly forward-thinking organization that today’s buyers appreciate. Working as part of the 3rd most powerful privately held RE firm in the country, founded in NYC, I have a direct connection with NYC agents, which is beneficial to clients selling their city homes and moving to the suburbs, and a powerful network throughout the country, with 12,000+ amazing agents nationwide. With programs like Compass Concierge, where Compass pays the upfront costs for sellers needing to update their homes, and bridge loans, Compass has taken the time to understand today’s most important needs for buyers and sellers and moved fast to improve the industry. Ultimately the role of the agent is to strategically advise clients. The home buying experience is a large financial commitment but it’s also emotional, exciting, and can be quite time consuming. Compass gets that agents alleviate that and empowers us to take a lot of the friction out of the experience. My goal, and Compass’ goal, is to make a seamless experience for my clients.

Q: The two videos that we are sharing in this blog post, can you please tell our readers a bit more about them.

A: Yes, the first one is a highlight video on one of the towns my team covers.  It was designed to make the buyer get to know the town a little more and see some of its offerings.  The other video is specific for one of our listings.  We created this video so the buyer could envision what a day would be like if they lived in this house – from the kids getting on the school bus – to a dinner BBQ.  It was created to get the buyer excited for what life could be like in that house.

Q: What made you decide to get into real estate? Was it always your passion? 

A:  When I graduated college, I went into ad sales.  I stayed in that field for 15 years and loved the sales and negotiation aspect of the job.  After I had my 3rd child, I was looking for a change and my family is in commercial real estate in the city, so I decided to get my real estate license.  I hit the ground running and never looked back.  Now I am proud to say I am a top 40 agent in Westchester, have a great team and I love what I do.

Q: How has the market changed compared to five years ago? What do you see as the biggest change?

A: The biggest change vs. 5 years ago is how we list homes.  5 Years ago, we would take pictures and put the home on the market.  Now, we sit with the sellers, make recommendations on what to update, work with them on decluttering, almost all homes now are being painted & staged.  Homes sells faster that are updated so we do everything we can pre-sale so that when we take the pictures they look perfect. In addition, we used to just take regular photos and now I do a ton of drone footage, 4D pictures, listing videos, live Facebook and Instagram tours as well as specialized events at homes to bring in the buyers.  We try and create an experience for the buyers, so they aren’t just looking at the house but also see the lifestyle.

Q: Do you find that there are more or less challenges when families are looking for homes today?

A: I think the challenges are different.  Technology has given the buyers a lot more information than they had in the past.  Many of my buyers know they will buy a house before they even see it because they obsess over the hi-res photos, satellite images, Google street views, etc.  The trend of all the home improvement shows has empowered the buyers to take on more renovation projects.  In addition, many city buyers are renting apartments that are very updated so when they go see a home in the suburbs, they expect all of the kitchens and bathrooms to be as updated their apartment rental.  We educate our sellers on this so that they can anticipate what the buyers are thinking.

Q: What’s one of your favorite stories about selling a home to a family? Please share.

A: My city buyer’s number one fear is that they don’t know anyone in the suburbs and will they make any friends!  Chuckling, I tell them everyone thinks the same things and I introduce them to a few friends.  Within a few months when I follow up with them, they already made life-long besties and they can’t believe they have only known each other for a short while.  Its’ like being a freshman in college all over again.

Q: Is there anything else that you want our readers to know, please share.

A: Yes, your readers should feel like it is never too early to get the process started.  I have buyers that call me three years out to just get the ball rolling and .  They then get themselves mentally prepared, financially ready and well educated on the different areas so once it is time to move, they can hone in on a town or two that they want to move to.  Also, we have delivery!  Whether it is seamless or uber eats, Costco or grocery delivery or your dry cleaning being brought to your front door, the suburbs offers all the modern conveniences that the city buyers have grown accustom too. From oyster houses, to steak houses to a great taqueria even our restaurants are city quality.


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