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Today: Clifford's HEART-y Party at Scholastic Store Soho

Looking for something fun to do this afternoon? Gather your little ones and head to the Scholastic Store in Soho at 3PM today for some pre-Valentine's Day fun with a very special guest star: Clifford the Big Red Dog!

Valentine's Day is Clifford's favorite holiday - it would be yours too, if you were a Big Red Dog! Cuddle up with someone special and listen to a selection of Clifford's favorite Valentine's Day books and then join Clifford for a special pre-Valentine's Day card-making-extravaganza. Make sure you don't leave before showing Clifford some love and getting a picture with the Big Red Dog himself!

WHEN: Saturday (2/11) @ 3PM
WHO: Ages 3 and up
WHERE: 557 Broadway (b/w Prince & Spring Streets). Note: Stroller entrance is located at 130 Mercer Street

Visit Scholastic's Events webpage for more information. See you there!


Free Event: Laurie Berkner, the Little Maestros and Farmer Jason

Exciting News: My new favorite toy store, J&R jr., is celebrating their Grand Opening this weekend and we're all invited! They're calling it a 2-Day Kidstravanganza and they're not kidding! The free party is this Saturday (2/11) and Sunday (2/12) and will have magicians, princesses, balloon twisters, photo booths, giveaways and more!

What do I mean by "more"? Much like J&R, J&R jr. will regularly treat us NYers to free events headlined by big name performers. Who's performing tomorrow? Laurie Berkner @ 1:30, the Little Maestros @ 2:30 and Farmer Jason @ 4:00. Be sure to arrive early - only the first 300 people will be admitted and Laurie always draws a crowd :)

I'll be there with all my munchkins... Join us!

Click here to learn more about this weekend's events including Sunday's lineup of performers!


Toy Review: Water Xylophone by Alex Toys

What: Tub Tunes Water Xylophone by Alex Toys

What ManhattanMom's Mom Tester Says: I love, love, love this toy (and so do the kids). It's simple to play with, sounds great and it comes apart so our mini musicians can play music on the keys as they float on the water, stuck to the side of the tub or any other combo.

It also comes with waterproof laminated sheet music which is easy to follow (for the older kids) and a fun addition.

So far, this is my favorite music-making bath toy.

Who: Suitable for ages 3 years and up. 



Best New Toy Store in Manhattan: J&R jr.

Congratulations, J&R! You've given birth to a beautiful, bouncing, baby store! This past Sunday, a bunch of my sister New York mom bloggers and I were treated to a preview opening of the newest toy store in town: J&R jr.

If you know and shop at J&R (and what New Yorker doesn't?), you're familiar with the 40-year old institution's reputation for having an extensive product selection with great prices and for hosting free events headlined by the biggest names in entertainment. Well, it's often said that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and that couldn't be more true with J&R jr. The seriously cute boutique for kids & parents features baby gear, kids electronics, bath toys, accessories, games, toys galore & much more. In other words, it has every product line you know and love -- and plenty new ones to discover -- and something for every child in your life regardless of age, gender, and interest (or obsession).

For me, it was love at first sight. My day job's office is located downtown so I'm especially excited to welcome the much-needed, new addition to the neighborhood.

For more information, sign up for J&R jr.s free eNewsletter or visit J&R jr. today!


Toy Review: Rub-N-Color Magic Coloring Books by Giddy Up

How did we test? I purchased several versions of Rub-n-Color books while delayed in the JetBlue terminal at JFK. My 2 1/2 year old son and I played with them while in the airport, on the flight and at times during our vacation. Back home, I continued to bring them with us to restaurants, on car rides, and even on a few play dates (several mom friends were so impressed by them they demanded to know where I got them).

What did we like? They're inexpensive, lasted longer than I had expected and, even though we lost the pencil that came with the book, we were able to keep playing with it because you only need to rub the paper for the colors to appear.

What didn't we like? Once you've rubbed the specific items to color them or reveal hidden messages, the colors aren't as bright as you expect and the text isn't always easy to read.

Do we recommend? Yes, we loved the Rub-n-Color books. We've finished all of our books but if/when I see them again, I'll likely pick up a few new ones to keep on hand for those times when a little distraction can go a long way.

For more information, visit