General Post | MommyMandy l California Mom Blog - Part 5
MommyMandy l California Mom Blog

5 Reasons Why Busy Parents Need to Try XNSPY for Child Monitoring

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In this economy, parents already have a lot on their plates to have much time for other nuanced aspects of parenting. Especially those that they are less familiar with—parenting in the internet world. Because kids of this generation are digital natives and the parents are simply immigrants. But just because parents have a busy lifestyle does not mean that they can’t be active all aspects of their child’s upbringing. It is time for them to adopt smart technology as well. Here’s why you, the busy parent, should be using XNSPY for child monitoring.

1.     It is Completely Remote

First of all, XNSPY is an all-inclusive parental control application. This means that parents are able to see everything that goes on in the child’s phone… and they can do it completely remotely. Because the app only has to be installed into the child’s phone once. After that, parents use a web based portal to gain access to the child’s phone and see all the information they’ve been exchanging on it.

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2.     It Gives You 24/7 Reports

Another brilliant thing about XNSPY parental controls is the 24/7 reports. On their online control panels, parents can view a summary of activities that went on on the child’s phone on that particular day. This means you can get reports on the calls that were made, the SMS that were sent, and emails that were exchanged. If you’re a busy parent, chances are you won’t read everything the app records for you. This way, you can at least have a bird’s eye view of your child’s digital security.

3.     It Gives You Alerts in Emergencies

Similarly, if you’re busy, you’re probably not going to spend all day reading whatever is going on in your kid’s phone. This is why XNSPY sends you alerts in case of emergencies. And the best part is that you get to decide what constitutes as emergency by using their Watchlist. Anything that goes to the Watchlist becomes the ‘trigger’ activity and you get an alert anytime one of the Watchlist items is activated.

4.     It Stores All the Data

All data collected and recorded by XNSPY is stored on the online control panel. This means you never get to lose anything. If you’ve had a long day and were unable to check up on your child’s activities, you can still come home and read back on who your child messaged, called, emailed, phoned and much more. This will make you life a lot easier.

5.     It is Sophisticated Yet Affordable

XNSPY for child monitoring uses sophisticated technology. It is what enables it to record everything in real time and put parents on alert when they need to be. You’d think that all of this would come at a hard price to pay. But in reality, XNSPY is available for as low as $8.33 a month and you can chose any subscription that suits your situation best. It is affordable, and there is no reason parents shouldn’t be taking advantage of this fact.

 

Top 10 Holiday Comfort Foods #americasrecipes

Top 10 Holiday Comfort Foods  #americasrecipes
It’s my favorite (and most delicious) time of the year!
Preparing holiday meals is an extremely important tradition in my family — it has been since I was a little girl. During the holiday season, we’d always make tons of veggie casseroles and cornbread for our extended family. I used to love the smell of everything browning and bubbling in the oven. I still do.
I recently partnered with Del Monte (the makers of premium canned vegetables and so much more) to share with you some fun stats on what Americans love to eat during the holidays. They just published their Del Monte Comfort Food Index, which ranked the Top 10 Holiday Comfort Foods.
1.  Potatoes (mashed or scalloped):  84% (percent who feel “comfort” by eating the food)
2.  Pie:  82%
3.  Baked goods (cookies & muffins):  81%
4.  Macaroni & cheese:  75%
5.  Cake:  71%
6.  Casserole:  69%
7.  Stews and hearty soups:  68%
8.  Meatballs (with or without pasta:  65%
9.  Sweet potatoes (mashed or cut):  61%
10.  Cornbread:  60%
Throughout the holiday season, we have pretty much all of these dishes on the menu. We love potatoes in our household, but casseroles are always a huge hit too. Who doesn’t love casseroles?
Going through the Del Monte America’s Recipe site, I discovered some recipes I’d like to try out for this year’s feast.
Cheddar Corn Casserole may be the ultimate holiday comfort food. You can also add ham or turkey to it to make it a complete meal.
Another guaranteed holiday hit is Green Bean Casserole. In fact, it’s not surprising to hear that 57% of Americans find it comforting and nostalgic to eat green bean casserole. (I’m certainly one of these folks.)
And… Pie. I could probably eat a fruit pie everyday. Del Monte’s Peach Slab Pie  recipe is so easy to make, I’m excited to try it! The crust is mixed into the pan, it doesn’t get simpler than that.
So, just how important is comfort food during the holidays? Very important. The survey also found:
>> 46% of Americans agree that their family “shows love and comfort through food.”
>> 44% of Americans look forward to the food more than presents during the holidays. (Totally true in my family!)
>> 62% of Americans say that they are “traditional and like to make or eat classic comfort recipes in the same way every year.”
>> 38% of Americans say they “like to change things up and prefer modern twists on favorite comfort foods.”
P1580214070412_1_0Looking for more quick and delicious versions of comfort food? Check out some of my new faves which match the top 10 comfort foods:
1.  Potatoes (mashed or scalloped):  84% (percent who feel “comfort” by eating the food)
2.  Pie:  82%
3.  Baked goods (cookies & muffins):  81%
4.  Macaroni & cheese:  75%
5.  Cake:  71%
6.  Casserole:  69%
7.  Stews and hearty soups:  68%
8.  Meatballs (with or without pasta:  65%
9.  Sweet potatoes (mashed or cut):  61%
10.  Cornbread:  60%
Find more of Del Monte’s top-rated, family-approved holiday recipes here: Del Monte America’s Recipe site.
I’d love to hear which of these recipes you want to add to your holiday dinners! Let me know in the comments below. 

*A product was provided.

Common holiday pitfalls and how to avoid them #CTCA

Cancer Treatment Centers of America CTCAThe holidays are a time many of us look forward to all year; a time for celebrating family and being thankful for friends. Music, parties and being cozy are some of our favorite things during the holidays, but let’s not forget the food. There is nothing wrong with enjoying these special treats, but it can often be difficult to stop yourself from overeating. Cancer Treatment Centers of America® Registered Dietitian Sarah Kiser shares some common holiday pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Saving room for the big dinner. Depriving yourself of food can make you more likely to overeat when you do have a meal and less likely to choose wisely. You will be so ravenous that your judgment to make smart choices will be impaired. Instead, eat normal meals throughout the day: a well-rounded breakfast and lunch, and a light snack consisting of protein to keep those tummy growls at bay. By the time you get to the big meal, you won’t be as hungry, making it easier to pick and choose which foods you really want to eat.

Only socializing around food. Parties and get-togethers often revolve around snacks, meals, desserts and drinks, making it easy to overeat while spending time with your loved ones. Instead, try playing games or being active together. Spending time together in creative ways is a great way to celebrate the holidays without losing sight of your health goals.

Forgetting about liquid calories. Alcohol can be a significant source of added calories, and depending on what you mix it with, added sugar. These excess empty calories can raise blood sugar and be stored as fat. Drinking too much can also lead to dehydration and feeling sluggish the next day, making it very likely you won’t make it to that yoga class you vowed you would attend. Instead, pace yourself with the drinks. Sip slowly to enjoy the flavor. Drink water along with your adult beverage to stay hydrated. After one or two drinks, try switching to water. For a fun twist, try adding a splash of lime juice and frozen strawberries to seltzer water.

These are some excellent tips for all year long. I think it’s important for everyone to remember that we can have a great time without over eating or drinking.

CTCA Exterior retouched no car

Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a national network of five hospitals that serves adult patients who are fighting cancer. CTCA® provides cutting-edge medical treatment options for their patients to fight cancer, which are combined with a full array of integrative therapies to mitigate side effects and improve quality of life, with all services available under one roof.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), we use leading technology to aggressively treat cancer. We also support you with nutrition and other therapies, because we know that managing the side effects of cancer treatment is half the battle. Nearly 70 percent of CTCA patients travel to one of thehospitals from another state. Why?

Their physicians have expertise in treating many forms of cancer, including complex and advanced-stage diseases. Our hospitals offer advanced technologies and tools to fight cancer combined with integrative oncology services to improve quality of life—all under one roof. Our patients receive an individualized, comprehensive treatment plan from a team of cancer experts.

To learn more head on over to www.cancercenter.com.
*I received compensation as part of a promotional program with CTCA and MomSelect.

More isn’t Always Better: Make Your Kitchen Remodel Count

The experts tell us that when considering a remodeling project, a kitchen “facelift” can almost pay for itself. By some estimates, a minor kitchen remodel can return over 90% of its value during a resale. One key factor in designing a remodeling project that recoups most of its cost is to keep a few ideas in mind.

Customize = Specialize

It’s most likely that you’re considering the remodeling project for your own purposes and not as much concerned about the resale value. It’s your home and you’re not really thinking about the family likely to live there next. In planning your design though, it’s good to remember that the more you customize to fit exactly what you want, the more you narrow the pool of prospective buyers in the future. You may love the Spanish colonial trim on your cabinets and island, but if it’s inconsistent with the rest of the home, you might find yourself undoing it when it comes time to sale. You can check out the Best Hybrid Table Saws for your customizing project.

Update or Remodel

You might be dreaming of a full kitchen remodel like the ones you’ve seen on Pinterest. It’s a fact of life that the more you do the more it will cost. It would be great to know what the sweet spot is where bigger costs stop building value.

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According to the 2015 “Cost v. Value Report,” it’s $19,226. Up to that point you can expect to get a little over 80% of the cost back in added value to your home. Now that you know that number, you can start deciding what things are most important. Will you benefit more from updated appliances and refinished cabinets or do you need a bigger overhaul? It’s entirely possible that your kitchen has become so dated that it needs a complete remodel to improve its functionality.

Whether you’re looking at a floor to ceiling demo or just a cabinet and appliance update, it’s good to know what the tipping point is going to be.

Keep It Simple

Most kitchens could benefit from some simple upgrades. Unless you had a custom build, it’s likely that most of the fixtures in your home are builder’s grade. They work just fine, but they probably don’t create the feel you’d like in your own space.

downloadOne of the most cost effective upgrades you can make is with your appliances and fixtures. Something as simple as updating the faucet and sink can give the room a different look. The best kitchen faucets today are also more efficient. That can save you on your monthly water bill. At the very least, they give your kitchen a more contemporary look.

The same is true of modern kitchen appliances. They come with an energy star rating that will tell you how much you’re likely to save annually by upgrading. Most of your kitchen appliances are only expected to last ten to fifteen years. If it’s been longer than that since you replaced them, it’s likely that upgrading the current appliances will save you significant money on energy bills right away.

In reality, remodeling is more about building what you want than adding value to your home. You want to build the space that suits you, not the next family who is going to live there. Still, your home is possibly one of your largest investments, and you want to maintain its value. Looking at what you really need and knowing the effective budget can help you create your perfect space and protect your significant investment.

Essential Tools For Maintaining A Healthy Garden

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Photo credit by YourCastlesDecor

Every garden has its own personality, size and complexity, just like its gardener, so the tools chosen to nurture individual spaces vary widely. As gardeners are notoriously particular and passionate about the tools of their trade, we’ve created a selection of the highest rated and the best loved, from the straightforward traditional tools such as pruners to more new-fangled gadgets. Whatever your tastes in flora and fauna may be, or however big your space to create your perfect paradise is, keeping some gardening essentials at hand will help ensure that your garden flourishes!

1.Sharp pruners – An absolute must have, a good pair of pruners can help with fatigue and safety, in addition to trimming unwanted leaves or branches.

2.An ergonomic shovel – Look for a shovel with a sharp and heavy blade but a lightweight fiberglass handle to make it easier to grip while digging as this kind is the most beneficial for maintaining an injury-free back and joints.

3.Compost tumbler – A tumbler makes all the difference with compost timing, reducing it from a couple of months to a few weeks

Photo by Rennett Stowe

Photo by Rennett Stowe

4.Trowel and fork – Probably the most used items in any garden, trowels and forks are used for planting, poking, weeding and even removing any ‘gifts’ left by neighborhood cats!

Photo credit by Wicker Paradise

Photo credit by Wicker Paradise

5.Trug – They can be a bargain and make life maintaining a garden a whole lot easier by shifting compost and weeds, gathering the (literal) fruits of your labour, or simply and safely transporting multiple and often sharp garden tools.

6.EasyBloom – One of those gadgets that has revolutionized the gardening world, the EasyBloom is a data-gathering stake that collects information about sunlight and moisture amounts and is perfect for those whose thumbs are not quite green yet.

7.Gardening apron – It may not be the most obvious tool, but a multi-pocketed apron can be a lifesaver for those who spend a lot of time in the dirt juggling everything from pruners and seeds to water bottles and mobile phones, by keeping everything safe and within reach.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a newbie to taming and cultivating Mother Nature, there are plenty of garden hand tools to choose from when it comes to creating the perfect garden space.

Images by YourCastlesDecorRennett Stowe and Wicker Paradise used under Creative Commons License.

9 Months Old

9 months

We have celebrated another month with our boy. He is getting big fast! He absolutely loves to eat. He will eat everything you give him.

He cut his 6th tooth and celebrated his first Thanksgiving.

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What Nutrients to “Chews” When Expecting #BeActiv

What Nutrients to Chews When Expecting BeActiv (1)

Approximately 68% of women are calcium deficient, but this matters even more when you’re pregnant because the developing baby needs calcium to build strong bones and teeth, as well as for a healthy heart, nerves, and muscles.

When a pregnant woman lacks dietary calcium (which is often the case), her developing baby draws this much-needed calcium directly from HER bones, which can impact the woman’s health later in life. Popular prenatal vitamins only have a small percentage of recommended the daily calcium.

The recommended amount of calcium during pregnancy is 1000mg daily and Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews are an easy and delicious way to make sure you’re getting the recommended amount. Available in milk chocolate and caramel flavors, these soft chews have 100% of your daily recommended value in just two chews—plus Vitamin D and K! They are each individually wrapped so you can even toss them in your purse so you don’t forget.

One Viactiv Calcium Soft Chew (500 mg of calcium and 500 IU of Vitamin D) taken twice daily provides 100% of the daily value of calcium for most women plus vitamins D and K.

Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews are intended to help achieve recommended daily dietary levels of these nutrients as a supplement to diet/food sources.

Viactiv is part of the three keys to healthy bones:  

  • Obtaining an adequate daily dose of calcium from your diet
  • Regular bone strengthening exercises–#BeActiv
  • Supplementing when diet is not enough

What Nutrients to Chews When Expecting BeActiv (2)

Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews are available in milk chocolate and caramel flavors at major retailers including CVS, Rite Aid, Target, Walgreens and Walmart, as well as supermarkets nationwide. Save $2 on your next in-store purchase with the Viactiv printable coupon.

Also be sure to enter Viactiv’s BeActiv with Baby sweeps to win fun prizes to keep you and baby active together. Four weekly winners – one per week.

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You can learn more about Viactiv on their website as well as follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

“This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. I received Viactiv products for my own personal use. All opinions, text and experiences are my own.”

FDA Disclaimer:
Please talk with your doctor regarding any concerns before taking any supplements. This post is not intended to address or diagnose any medical conditions. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Enter their current #BeActiv with Baby giveaway.

Happy 10th Birthday to my Sissy

TEN today… 10 years ago this sweet little girl blessed my life. She was the calm to my crazy. She still is and I am beyond lucky she is my princess. (and yes I totally treat her like a princess) She has a heart of gold and loves her friends deeply. If you have had the chance to know her you would agree that she is pretty special. I can’t believe it has been ten years though. I look forward to the next ten with her.

happy birthday sarah

Kolcraft Select a Seat – Perfect for those little ones who just potty trained

Kolcraft Select a Seat (4)

After Shelby potty trained early this year she was still using a little potty that was on the floor. When Mikey was born I was done cleaning out the little potty but I knew she wasn’t ready to use the toilet without some kind of insert. (She would fall right into the toilet.)

I was beyond happy to see that Kolcraft makes a Select a Seat toilet seat. The Kolcraft Combination Toilet Seat is a potty training seat and full-size adult toilet seat in one. Now teaching bathroom skills to your little one can be easier than ever. This easy-to-assemble, integrated item will mean one less thing cluttering up your bathroom.

Kolcraft Select a Seat (1) Kolcraft Select a Seat (2) Kolcraft Select a Seat (3) Kolcraft Select a Seat (12)

The colorful child seat flips up out of the way, and both seats are cushioned for comfort. Made of durable plastic, it is not only comfortable but durable, as well. This child and adult toilet seat is easy to assemble and comes with detailed instructions, so it can be safely and properly installed.

This is the perfect solution to not have a bunch of extra pieces sitting around in the bathroom. It is extremely easy to clean and makes for keeping the bathroom organized.

*A product was provided.

Adorable Hair Styles with Goody

Were Going back to School with Goody

As you know my girls love getting creative with their hair styles! They love pony tails, headbands and buns!

Sarah was beyond excited for the Goody Bun Making Kit. The Goody Bun Making Kit and Ouchless Hairbrush are perfect for making an adorable hair style in minutes! The Kits come with five pieces and we love the added bow on the bobby pin for extra flair.

This set is perfect for my girls when they have dance days! They can put their hair up in buns in only a few minutes.

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How to Solve the Biggest Problems with Remodelling Your Kitchen

You will agree that a kitchen isn’t just a place for cooking, but the heart of your home. This is where the whole family bonds, children do homework, and friends congregate. Having the ideal form and function to put up with the busy living can be an uphill task. Nonetheless, remodelling your kitchen calls for more than just adding new cabinets, an island or counter tops. You are bound to encounter some problems in the course of remodelling. Today, we explore some of the common problems and how you can solve them.

Poor Work Flow

Your home may have been built with a poorly-planned kitchen. The island may be over-sized, awkwardly cutting off the sink from the ovens and refrigerator. With this, you make many unnecessary steps when cooking. You can solve this by having a designer plan for two appropriately- size islands featuring a work isle in between.

Sometimes your kitchen may have the refrigerator and pantry at either end of the room, doubling up the steps involved when unloading the groceries. Proper food storage and putting the two together will be the best remedy.

Tight Walkways

Image Courtesy of kitchencove.net

Image Courtesy of kitchencove.net

Space may be limited in your kitchen to have an island but you always have the option of having a potable island. It’s normally recommended that you have a 42″ minimum walkway and 48″ minimum walkway for one and two cooks, respectively.

Poor Venting
Your kitchen systems may be under-powered or poorly ducted, resulting in persistent food odours and grease dispersal. You should factor in a functional ventilation system for the kitchen too.

Inadequate Storage Space

Image Courtesy of www.freeimages.com

Image Courtesy of www.freeimages.com

Even in a tiny kitchen, you can still find a storage solution. You can consider modifying the eating space to curve out some space for cabinetry. If your home features a kitchenette and a dining room side by side, you can eliminate the wall between to create one large eat-in kitchen. You will then have a semi-formal table in the eating area and a snack counter in the working area of the kitchen.

Poor Lighting
To enhance the lighting in your kitchen, you should consider three kinds of lighting – Task Lighting, General lighting and Creative lighting. While task lighting is installed on the counters and appliances, general lighting belongs to the walkways and the general area. Creative lighting, on the other hand, serves to set the mood, show off the products, as well as highlighting the art.

Kitchen Hardware
While tile and stone floors look more attractive than vinyl, they can take a toll on your feet and back when you stand on them for stretched periods of time. You can use a cushioned mat underfoot if you have to stand for long.

Style Doesn’t Flow with Your Home
The style that doesn’t flow is a common problem with remodelled kitchens. You may want Tuscan kitchen that does not visually blend with your home’s contemporary Florida architecture. Or else, you have replaced your old-fashioned kitchen’s leaky faucet with a new oversize commercial-style faucet. In all these instances, your kitchen’s functionality will not be undermined. However, they will both strike discordant notes

The costliest room in your home with regards to remodeling is the kitchen. You, therefore, need to plan carefully to avoid disappointments. If you look to have a polished and professional looking remodeled kitchen, you will need the services of a designer, an architect, as well as a general contractor like Joel & Co. Construction. While kitchen remodeling may be expensive, you need always to consider quality and durability over cost.

Join in on Knott’s Merry Farm’s Holiday

Merry Farm Logo

Joy is in season at Knott’s Merry Farm! Snoopy and a cast of world class ice skaters perform Merry Christmas, Snoopy!, a whimsical ice show bursting with characters and remarkable skating. In Santa’s Christmas Cabin, guests can share their wish lists with jolly ol’ St. Nick and savor some of Knott’s world famous holiday treats.

Take a trip back in time and celebrate Christmas in the Old West town of Calico. Climb aboard the Calico Railroad for Christmas on Engine 41 and meet Ghost Town residents eager to share their holiday plans with you. Those looking for great gift ideas can shop Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village, a shopping wonderland where local artisans demonstrate their craft and sell their unique gifts.

Charlie Brown and Linus in Snow
Baby holding Santa's Finger

In the evening, join Snoopy as he lights up the night in the Snoopy’s Merriest Tree Lighting show, then take a stroll through Ghost Town where snow gently falls while thousands of sparkling lights dance to the beat of holiday music.

Snow and Glow in Ghost Town
Calico Carolers Santa and Snoopy

The perfect stocking stuffer is now on-sale! A 2016 Season Pass includes one free admission in 2015, unlimited visits in 2016 with no blackout dates, discounts on select food and merchandise, and access to exciting year-round seasonal events. For affordable year-round fun for everyone on your “nice” list, Season Passes start at just $81.00, the best price of the year for a limited time.

Make fun part of your holiday tradition at Knott’s Merry Farm November 21-January 3.

*Tickets to the media day is provided by GigaSavvy.

8 Months Old!

8 months

Mikey is 8 months and growing so fast! He is still 27 inches tall but a good 20-22 pounds. He is wearing mostly 12 month clothes already!!

He started cutting teeth 3 and 4 just days after turning 8 months. He celebrated his first Halloween and had a lot of fun! He loves his baths, he loves food and loves playtime.

8-months

 

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Talk. Read. Sing. to your little ones

Today’s post is sponsored by First 5 California, but my love for their Talk. Read. Sing. program is all my own!

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As a parent to four I know how important those first few years of our baby’s life is especially all those learning moments. I have two little ones who are not in school yet and we spend a lot of time playing, singing and having fun.

Shelby is three and loves to sing. She also loves everything with crafts. I try to spend time with her one on one with preschool activities so she will be ready for school and will be ale to socialize with other kids easily. I have found that with her and having a new baby we have to have a routine.

After the older kids go to school and after Shelby has had her breakfast we sit down and do a few activity pages.

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First 5 California has some amazing ideas on Activities you can do with your little ones. Even Mikey being 7 months old I do a lot of activities with him. From playing with toys, to singing. He also has his own cute little books!

I'm going to smack this ball on this book to mKe sound! #6monthsold

A photo posted by Amanda (@mommymandy) on

Get down and play with your toddlers and babies. They learn in so many ways. Talk to them, sing and play. Make it fun!  Learn more about First Five California.

Moscow Ballet’s Nutcracker 2015

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The Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker is coming to Los Angeles Dec. 20-21! My Readers Can Save on Tickets Now with this exclusive offer from US Family Guide .

It’s the ultimate holiday tradition and creates memories for a lifetime. The production includes over 200 romantic costumes and 10′ tall playful animal puppets; shimmering colorful, backdrops splashed with 3-D effects; life-sized Matrushka (Nesting) Dolls and a puppet show for shadowing the Nutcracker Story at the opening Christmas Party. During the battle with Nutcracker Prince and the 3-headed Rat King, a golden cannon shoots roses! In the Magical Snow Forest an authentic Russian style Troika Sleigh, known as the fastest sleigh in the world, is escorted by Father Christmas (Ded Moroz) and Snow Maiden (Snegurochka) on their way to Act II. The Great Russian Nutcracker is known for its dedication to world peace with Act II named the “Land of Peace and Harmony.” The first scene of Act II features a stunning “Dove of Peace” with a 20′ wingspan and danced by 2 dancers each with one feathered wing. All ages feel the spirit of the season at Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker! Use the code JOY to get the biggest discount of the season for your family.

Save on the Moscow Ballet’s celebrated Great Russian Nutcracker 2015 North American Tour. USE PROMO CODE: JOY  @moscowballet @usfg