Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fete Paradiso, Governor's Island

A beautiful afternoon trip to Governor's Island to check out the Fete Paradiso and their vintage 1930s carnival rides. The rides were mostly for older kids or adults - the only ones toddlers fit on were not exactly the safest. The rides were beautifully restored, and a real treat to see and experience.

NYC Tourists

I typically avoid photographing anything touristy, but we walked home over the Brooklyn Bridge and I couldn't resist this shot.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My 34th Birthday

For this year's birthday, Alec planned an extravaganza of events, spanning three days. Good call, as Eloise had the worst night sleep the night before my actual birthday, leaving Alec a zombie and Eloise cranky all day.

On my actual birthday all we could handle was a casual lunch at Keste Pizza in the West Village, followed by gelato at PopBar.



Outside PopBar, Eloise was desperate to eat my gelato. See my beautiful Tiffany blue bracelet from Alec?


Since there was nothing else to be done, we then took Eloise to run around in a playground.


Saturday night Alec treated me to a delicious dinner at Boloud Sud. The food was exquisite, the service friendly, and they served me a birthday dessert. Yay! It was wonderful for Alec and I to have some time together, just the two of us. 

Afterwards, we walked through Central Park.


Sunday was lunch with close friends Dan and Sue. We had a casual lunch at my fave local comfort food-provider, Bark Hot Dogs ...


... followed by my favourite ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery. Notice how all the celebrating is about FOOD?


Thank you Alec for so thoughtfully planning a wonderful birthday for me. xoxox

Friday, August 9, 2013

Who Are We?: An Animal Guessing Game

We love books in our house. Both my husband and I have enjoyed reading since we were super small, so we read with Eloise as much as we can.

One of her current favourite books is Who Are We?: An Animal Guessing Game?, written by Alexis Barad-Cutler, a local Brooklyn mum to a toddler almost the same age as missy Eloise - so she really knows her market well.

Who Are We?: An Animal Guessing Game

Who Are We?: An Animal Guessing Game is a board book with flaps that lift to reveal the animals that have been mentioned in rhyme on the previous page. The animals featured in the book range from cute penguins to snakes and the arctic wolf. Each spread features a riddle to help guess the animal, and then a detail about them under the flap that you might not know. (Leopards take their prey into trees to eat. Who knew?)

Who Are We?: An Animal Guessing Game

Eloise's favourite animal in the book is the snake (Ssssssssss!). She loves lifting the flaps and revealing the animals underneath. At almost two, she's too young to understand the riddle and answer concept, so it's a great book for her to grow into and find something to enjoy at different stages of her development.

Who Are We?: An Animal Guessing Game is available from Amazon.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Wanda's Monster: From Fiend To Friend

Today was a landmark day for us - we took Cheese to her first musical, at age 22 months. The show was Wanda's Monster, a really cute off-Broadway show, perfect for kids aged two to 10. We weren't sure if it was a good idea to take Cheese seeing as she's such a wiggle monster that we can't even take her to a 30 minute music class anymore, but I really wanted to see how she enjoyed watching a real show.

Wanda's Monster, in its essence, is about a girl called Wanda who discovers a monster living in her closet. At first she is scared of the monster, then, after receiving some advice from her super-hip grandmother, pushes through her fear to get to know him, gaining a new friend in the process. While the story is very simple (hey, it's a kids' musical after all!), the underlying messages of tolerance and acceptance are important lessons for us to learn (and be reminded of) at any age.

We sat in the back row in anticipation of needing to bolt after 10 minutes or less, and were stunned that we made it through the entire show, without a single wiggle. Cheese loved Wanda and the monster - asking for Wanda every time she left the stage, and pointing to the monster and saying with conviction "Mon! Mon!" (she hasn't quite mastered multi-syllable words yet).

Wanda's Monster

Wanda's Monster

Wanda's Monster

Wanda's Monster

After the show we met the cast. Cheese was too shy to pat the monster or high-five Wanda. As we left she stopped to wave to the cast, yelling "Bye bye Mon!". A new musical (and monster) fan is born.

wandas monster

Wanda's Monster is playing July 13 – September 8, 2013, at Vineyard’s Dimson Theatre, Union Square. At 50 minutes (no interval) it's the perfect length to try for your kid's first show, or to take older kids who enjoy monsters. A few of the older toddlers were scared of the monster (Cheese knowingly said "Baby" when one such toddler wailed and needed to be removed from the theater), but by the end all the kids were dancing in their seats and shouting out "Rooaaarrrrrrr!".

Buy tickets here. Use the code MBSAVE to score a 25% discount on full-pried tickets.

I was not compensated for this blog post. While I was invited to attend a special bloggers' preview of the show, all opinions are my own. The show rocked. Take your kids, you'll all have a blast.

Round up: the best toys for kids turning two

This article was originally posted on the Kidz Central Station blog


Like every family home, we have a lot of toys strewn about. Our almost-two-year-old, of course, only plays with a handful of her vast toy collection. Some of her current favourites were given as gifts over a year ago, and are only now becoming an engaging toy for her to play with.



Thinking of getting a gift for a two-year-old? Try one of the trusty favourites that’s a hit with our toddler.



Stroller: Ours was sent from an overseas relative, but the brand isn’t important. All of the mini strollers are equally great, and you can even get them in blue.



Megabloks: These are awesome first builders for toddlers. The Big Building Bag includes a car-type platform for building on and zooming all over the floor. The blocks are the perfect size for toddler hands to manipulate.



Mini Micro Kickboard Scooter: This is our toddler’s early second birthday gift. We chose the Mini Micro version with the additional O-bar handlebar for toddlers. She’s slowly learning to use it around the house.



Hape Kitchen: We have a tiny apartment, so found the smallest kitchen possible, this neutral-toned kitchen from Hape. We filled it with similar-looking Hape Play Kitchenware. Our toddler loves to make us “tea” in her kitchen, and “stir” up delicious dishes to share with this cute wooden kitchen set.



Hoohobbers Jnr Director Chair: After making it clear that she wanted her own chair, we scouted around for something that didn’t take up too much room. The result is this great director’s chair that our toddler can fold up herself, and move around the room to wherever she wants to sit. You can even customize it with your child’s name.


Crocodile Creek Ball: Our toddler is now starting to kick and throw the ball.


Cars: We found a great, cheap car set from IKEA that our toddler loves to pull apart and drive all over the apartment.


Maracas: These maracas from Pylones are still a favourite and our toddler loves to “shake, shake, shake” her sillies out.


B. Rrrroll Model Boogie Bus: A gift for her first birthday, our toddler now loves to push the driver in his seat to start the bus engine, and arranges the passengers in the back.


Alphaberry: Your toddler won’t prefer this to your iPhone, but it is engaging and fun, playing the ABC song and saying all of the letters when they’re pressed.


Diddy-Doo-Dah’s Blue Owl Xylophone: The xylophone hammers are now used for actually playing music! We all enjoy this toy together, playing tunes for our toddler and singing simple songs.


Tupperware Shape O Ball: While her puzzle skills are definitely still developing, this toy is helping our toddler recognize shapes. She struggles to work out how to rotate the pieces and doesn’t recognize all the shapes and where they go, but she is drawn to this shape sorter and loves to keep trying to work it out.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

How to survive your toddler's first book signing

This article was originally posted on the MommyNearest blog


As mother to a rambunctious toddler, there are certain things I steer clear of: stores with fragile items on display, activities requiring the toddler to sit still, and open access to chocolate.

So it was definitely an out of the ordinary day that saw us attending a book reading and signing of brunchwithmybaby.com co-founder Alexis Barad-Cutler, for her new book, Who Are We? An Animal Guessing Game. The reading and signing was hosted by Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store in Brooklyn, one of our fave stores in the ‘hood for gifts for family and friends of all ages.

Book party


All three danger zones were in full force - china cows, glass vases and oversized coffee mugs at toddler level, a reading (requiring, you guessed it, sitting and listening, two skills that my toddler pretends not to have), and a huge open carton of Trader Joe Chocolate Cats, helpfully handed out by another toddler hopped up on sugar.


You’ve probably attended a book reading or signing, at least once. For adults, they’re usually a pretty calm affair. The attendees sit in chairs, quietly, while the author reads a chapter, and then sits behind a desk and signs copies for attendees in a neat line.

A book reading and signing for kids is more like a baby mosh pit than the serene scene described above. Picture 10 toddlers between the ages of 18 months and two years old, in a store filled with pretty, shiny things, and easy access to food. Yes, chaos, and yes, they egg each other on.


When it was time for Alexis to perform the reading, kids and adults all sat on the floor. Well, the adults sat, while the toddlers stood, performed yoga, stuffed their faces with the chocolate cat cookies, and, in my toddler’s case, assisted the author with her reading by helping her turn the pages and open the flaps.


Each spread inside the book features gatefold flaps that unfold to reveal the animal that’s being asked about. (The kids seemed to enjoy the element of surprise of seeing what’s underneath each flap.) My daughter’s favorite spread was the one with the snakes because she likes to make the snake sound (ssssss!). The adults liked the simple, rhyming text and the illustrations.


The book was well received by all adults and most of the toddlers (hey, they’re pretty discerning mini-people). It was a crazy experience, and thankfully nothing was broken, no kids were lost, and everyone slept well after coming down from their massive sugar crash.



Thinking of taking your toddler to a book reading and signing and scared of how they’ll behave? Just do it - it will be a fun and totally hilarious experience that you’ll be laughing over for weeks to come. Just remember to bring your camera, and cash incase they trash more than just your reputation.