Tag Archives: NYC

Top 10 things I’m going to miss about NYC.

I’m late posting today. I also happen to be in Maryland at the moment, on what is quite possibly the slowest Internet connection ever. The movers asked to come a day early (yesterday), & decided at 1pm today that they’d be delivering our stuff in Florida on Saturday, so we left at 4:40pm, just as rush hour traffic was starting to pick up. Fortunately, we made good time, & The Munchkin only got to bed… 2 hours late. Yikes.

Everything happened so fast I honestly haven’t had much time yet to wax sentimental about my favorite city in the world. But I thought I’d post a few of the many things I’ll miss about New York, in no particular order, & that you shouldn’t miss if you come visit.

1.) This view:

2.) The food. Great Italian everywhere, great bakeries everywhere. We’ve been told that “the water’s not right” in Florida for either of those things. Hearing that made me die a little inside. Here are just a few of our favorites: burgers, chocolate, pasta, & pancakes.

3.) Magnolia. Belongs in a class of its own.

4.) Snow! Not limited to NYC, obviously, but I love it in spite of the fact that it often makes walking in the city pretty gross. It’s still fun, & so magical to watch it start falling amid all the lights of the city.

5.) Holidays. Especially Christmas at Macy’s.  From fireworks on the 4th of July to the Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving, to Easter Egg hunts in the park, the city just knows how to celebrate everything with style & gusto.

6.) There is always free stuff to do! We used the events calendars at Mommy Poppins & Parents Connect (I’m going to be using that second one after our move too; they have dozens of cities on there) to find fun new things to do for free just about every single week! We also love ALL the playgrounds EVERYWHERE! No matter where we went or what we did, there was almost always a great park nearby! (No picture, thanks to Slowest Internet Ever…)

7.) Public transit. Yes, taking the car is often more convenient, especially with more than 1 Munchkin, but it just isn’t as FUN! Trains, subways, ferries (we avoid the buses because we hate traffic) — what’s not to love if you’re a kid? (Also no picture, thanks to Slowest Internet Ever.)

8.) Broadway. We got to go on dates to Mamma Mia! & How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with Daniel Radcliffe & John Larroquette. We also saw Phantom & Wicked when we were here on our honeymoon 5 years ago. I’ve been in (well, under — I was in the pit orchestra) lots of musicals, & there is nothing like Broadway!

9.) The “dinosaur bones museum.” This is one of The Munchkin’s favorite places in the world. We got to visit one last time with one of her playgroup friends while the movers were here yesterday. (Slowest Internet Ever won’t let me upload the photo though, so here’s an old one.) We hope she likes the aquarium in Tampa almost as much!

10.) Obviously we’re going to miss the people the absolute most. We’ve made a lot of friends here. This is the first time The Munchkin has been old enough to make any real friendships; she says all her friends’ names almost every day, & she looks forward to church every week so she can see them all at Nursery. We also love how personal the city (& its surrounding environs) can be. Even though it seems big, loud, & scary at first glance, once you really get in there, it’s just such a personable place! We loved walking into the diner or bodega (small market) near our apartment & having the waitresses & checkstand girls greet The Munchkin by name. We loved being greeted by the security guard at the front desk every time we enter or leave the building, & The Munchkin loved getting a cookie at the Italian bakery when we went to get our weekly pizza dough. What a friendly place!

New York really is my favorite city. I love Hoboken too. If you are planning a visit, email me! (See my “About” page for the address.) I’ll send you my guide to “doing” NYC on the cheap with kids & then live vicariously through you as you enjoy the city!

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Preparing your child for a move. (Part 1 of 2: Before you leave.)

We’re moving. In a week & a half. Yikes!

Since that’s what’s on my mind right now, & since lots of people move during the summer, I thought I’d offer a few tips for helping your kids adjust to moving to a new place. Today I’m posting on how to prepare for the move itself; later I’ll post on how to settle in.

  • Show your kids photos of your new home & new town. Help them find reasons to be excited about the new place. The Munchkin is especially excited to be near the beach.
  • If you are packing yourself, START EARLY. Last year, with a husband taking law school finals, I started packing two months in advance while The Munchkin napped. There’s only so much you can pack that far ahead of time (you’re using everything else too frequently), but it really helps as you get down to the wire. It also helps your 10-month-old skip crawling in favor of cruising, because there are handholds everywhere!
  • Also if you are packing yourself, don’t pay for boxes! I had hoarded diapers.com boxes for months. Any time you get a package, collapse the box right away & stash it in a closet. Another great resource for free packing boxes is liquor stores; just go in & ask for some of their beer boxes. They’re the perfect size & durability for books & other heavy things. The people helping you move in might look at you a little funny though…
  • If your firm is paying for movers, PRAISE HEAVEN. The end.
  • Try to keep pictures up on the walls as long as possible. Even if there are boxes everywhere, having these familiar touches will help keep home feeling like home right up until you move.
  • Moving is a time-consuming process. Even if you’re not having to pack everything yourself, there are still things like getting a place to live, arranging for utilities on both ends, forwarding mail, etc. Kids can feel neglected; take a few minutes every day to just listen to them & give them your undivided attention. Even better, let them choose something special to do to take some time away from moving. This brings me to…
  • Have a “bucket list” of one thing each family member wants to do in your old town before you leave. This will help everyone feel valued (see above) & let all of you “say goodbye.” The Munchkin really wanted to go on the “mewwy-woun.” We’re also planning final visits to Magnolia & Shake Shack.
  • If you have time, throw a goodbye party with friends! Or let a friend throw one for you! That way everyone can say goodbye at once.
  • Speaking of friends, explain to your kids that they won’t get to see their friends all the time anymore. Let them know it’s okay to be sad & miss them, but encourage them by saying that they’ll be able to make new friends in your new town.
  • Explain the moving process to young kids: “A man will pack up your toys & clothes & put them in a big truck (bonus points for showing them the truck if they love trucks) & drive it to our new house! We’re going to drive separately in the car, & our things will meet us there!” {We just had a Family Home Evening about moving, where we talked about Nephi’s family in the Book of Mormon & how they moved to a new place too, & they packed up all of their things as well (see 1 Nephi 18:5-6). After we explained the process, we did the activity below.}
  • Parents magazine just had an article about helping kids adjust to moving, & one thing I thought was a great idea was to let your child decorate her own “treasure box” with stickers to put her favorite things inside. Then take it with you in the car so she isn’t separated from it. Here’s The Munchkin’s treasure box; the first thing she did was put in the 3-inch plastic Woody & Jessie dolls that go with her everywhere lately.
  • MAKE SURE THE LOVEY DOESN’T GET PACKED. IT GOES IN THE CAR. THE END.
  • Lastly, take a minute to say goodbye to your old house. (This was another Parents idea.) During your last meal there, likely on paper plates in your empty house, let each family member say his or her favorite memory of living there. Get your kids excited about making new memories!

Any other tips for moving with kids?

works for me wednesday at we are that family

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Staying cool in (& out of) the city.

Happy June, everybody! Here in the tri-state area it’s already been 8 zillion degrees for like 2 weeks… & before that it was cold & rainy. Where did spring go, I wonder?

On Saturday we decided to beat the heat by heading to Central Park & splashing around in one of the city’s many fabulous splash parks. The Munchkin’s grandparents sent her this Patagonia swim dress made of quick-drying swim-trunk material; it was perfect for not only this, but for the stroller & train ride home too: she just stayed in it the whole time & dried off fine — no peeling off & carrying around soggy suits! She enjoyed running away from the jets & splashing in the puddles.

But I’ll tell you what: the splash park was nowhere near worth the really hot, sticky walk there & back — much less the train fare — for her dad & me. So how could we all stay closer to home & still get outside without frying?

The correct answer is a water table — if you’re not moving in 2 months. No point in buying one more thing to pack, right? So I tried to figure out how to improvise one of our own in the meantime.

I grabbed a mixing bowl full of tap water, some tupperware & a lid, a slotted spoon, & The Munchkin’s IKEA stacking cups (we use these for everything, & as a result we’re down one or two), & we headed to our delightfully shaded (less delightful when trying to take pictures) balcony.

We splashed. (I hope our downstairs neighbors weren’t home!)

We learned how to scoop water out of one container & “dump” (her favorite word while doing this, apparently) it into the other. There was a “no-dumping” rule attached to the large containers… As you can see by the size of the puddle, it took a couple tries to understand that concept.

We stopped for a drink — dumping is thirsty work!

Then, when all the water had been dumped out of the containers & down onto our neighbor’s balcony, we decided the bowl would make a beautiful hat. Williams-Sonoma should add that to their product description! “Multi-purpose — great for dress-up.”

What a fun way to beat the heat — & it took no prep work at all! Maybe we don’t need that water table after all…

How do you & your kids have fun when it’s a zillion degrees outside?

works for me wednesday at we are that family

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My denim dilemma.

I’m a jeans girl. I live in them. But I’ve developed a problem lately. Since having The Munchkin, it seems that all my jeans are ripping at the knees! It would seem that all the crouching, kneeling, crawling, & knee-walking one does with a toddler is detrimental to denim. You think I’m exaggerating? Let’s take a look:

Pair number one: Guess Monterey straight. I’ve had these since before I was pregnant with The Munchkin. These were my FAVORITE JEANS EVER. When they started to wear at the knees, I bought…

Pair number two: GAP 1969 straight. (Seeing a pattern here? I go with what works, people.) After less than a month, both knees ripped. Like, Axl-Rose, we’re-back-in-the-’90s ripped. Right in the middle of the 5th Ave.-53rd St. subway station. I crouched down to talk to The Munchkin, & riiiiiiip. Audibly. In a subway station. Hey, at least it wasn’t the sides or something, right? So then I decided maybe Guess was the way to go after all &, upon trying & failing to find the exact pair from 3 years earlier, I got…

Pair number three: Guess Nicole cigarette. & yesterday I discovered that the right knee is threadbare in these too!

So as you can see above, I took the pair I liked least (the fabric doesn’t feel quite right, & besides, I’d had the least amount of time of the three to bond with them) & cut them off just above the rip to make some Bermudas. Generally I’m pretty opposed to cutoffs, but I was inspired by the bottom photo of this post by Mormon mommy blogger Natalie Holbrook, whose husband was in classes at NYU with my husband, & who’s way cooler & hipper (word?) than me, & is super nice besides. She rolled them up a bit at the knee to make them less cutoff-looking. Then I was in Nordstrom Rack yesterday & saw tons of denim Bermudas cut & sewn the same way — on purpose! So I must have something right. They look super cute on, but I’m not a fashionista, this is not a fashion blog, & my husband is not a fashion photographer, so I’m going to spare you the pain. But I feel pretty proud of myself nonetheless.

So, friends, here’s the denim dilemma (dilenimma?): I’ve taken care of one pair; what do I do to keep wearing the other two pairs of holey jeans without looking like I wish I were back in the ’90s? & how can I keep my future pairs of jeans from doing the same thing just as I’m getting attached?

works for me wednesday at we are that family

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Looking forward to a visit from Grandma & Grandpa.

My Husband The Almost-Grad’s family has been planning their visit for his graduation for months. That can be hard on a Munchkin who doesn’t understand the concept of time just yet, especially since she hasn’t seen these grandparents in almost a year, aside from our weekly Skype conversations. For weeks she’s been talking about “Gamma” & “Gapa,” “white boat” (the Hudson ferry), & “pinky cuppies” (pink Magnolia cupcakes). So as the day of their arrival has drawn near, I made her a paper chain to count down the days.

Every morning she gets so excited to pull off a new link & watch the chain grow shorter.

But I decided to add a new twist, to help her get excited about more things we’ll be doing with the grandparents than just boats & cuppies. Every time we pull a link off, we write the number of days that are left (you can see that for some of them I wasn’t awake enough yet to count…) & something she’s excited about for their visit.

Yes, the boat & cuppies are on there, & for the first several days we had to help her quite a bit to think of things, but over the last several days she’s started to verbalize more, stringing more words together: “ha-cops, pwanes… wwwwwon [with finger making a #1] moosem” (there are helicopters & planes at one museum, the Intrepid) & “dice bones” (dinosaur bones) at the other, the American Museum of Natural History. Plus, this morning she thought of one all on her own: “hand hand… Gapa” (hold hands with Grandpa). Yes, we’re all very excited to see them & go to the museum, the park, & Commencement. But this exercise has produced the remarkable unintended consequence of enhancing her verbal skills!

How do you help your kids get excited about big events like visits from family?

works for me wednesday at we are that family

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Last-minute Earth Day craft.

Happy Earth Day, everyone! Yesterday The Munchkin & I headed to Central Park for a free Earth Day craft sponsored by the Central Park Conservancy, & I thought I’d share it with you, in case you’re like me & don’t really go out of your way to celebrate this holiday but want to do something fun & educational today with your kids.

They supplied empty steel cans, magazine cutouts of nature-themed pictures, glue, potting soil, & marigolds. The Munchkin loved choosing her magazine pictures, picking which color flower to plant, & playing with the dirt & water. Once I recovered from the trauma of getting the darn thing home in one piece on the train with Munchkin, stroller, & diaper bag in tow, I liked the lesson that the craft taught: you can reuse just about anything to make our planet a prettier place.

Last month’s Ensign magazine had a great article, entitled “Sowing Seeds of Self-Reliance in Small Spaces,” about creative ways apartment-dwellers like me are growing small gardens. One suggestion was to use old empty containers like soda bottles, kitty litter buckets, & laundry soap containers. Old steel cans work great too!

Here’s how you can do this craft at home:

  1. Wash out an old steel can (a larger can, like for stewed tomatoes, would work better for larger flowers). Punch a hole or two in the bottom for drainage.
  2. Paste magazine cutouts around the can. Cover with Mod Podge if you want to make it last longer.
  3. Plant a flower or seeds with some extra potting soil & place it in a sunny spot to watch it grow!

 

This project has been featured at AllFreeHolidayCrafts.com! Check it out!

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Free in NYC: Strand Family Hour.

Stick around — there’s an easy Easter Bunny paper craft at the end!

What do you do in New York City when you have a kid & no money? Get creative.

Mommy Poppins & Parents Connect both have great events calendars that list seriously everything for kids that’s going on in the five boroughs (that second one works in large cities all over the country!). The best part: a lot of it is free!

So for our “day in the city” last week I consulted those handy-dandy events calendars & found out that the famous Strand Bookstore in Union Square has a family hour every Thursday at 3:30 on the Children’s floor. Now, prior to this the only things I knew about Strand were: a) that it was across the street from Max Brenner — very important; b) it has lots of books — 18 miles of them, according to their nifty bags that I see everywhere; & c) that they sell nifty bags.

(I am now the proud owner of one, thanks to my family’s last visit a couple weeks ago, & now that I’ve actually been there, I don’t feel like such a wannabe for proudly carrying it around when I pretend like I actually belong in the city. But enough of my hopes, dreams, & insecurities — back to The Munchkin.)

We were a little early, so we had a quick snack in front with the bargain book carts.

They read books all about bunnies for the first half hour. The Munchkin was pleased as punch… as long as she got to snuggle with the plush bunny she stole from the reading lady.

Afterwards the kids get to make a craft related to the books they just read. On this day they made bunnies out of paper plates.

Lucky for you, you don’t need to take a trip to NYC for this Easter craft. (Though if you do decide to visit, we are excellent tour guides — especially if you’re feeling cheap!)

Just draw a bunny face on a small white paper plate. (The Munchkin liked coloring the back of her plate.) Draw some ears onto white paper & cut them out, then staple them onto the plate. (The Munchkin colored her ears too.) Stretch out a few cotton balls, then glue them onto the top of (or all the way around) the plate. They even had little paper carrots there for the kids to color & “feed” to their bunny. I think that was her favorite part; that’s what she’s doing in that last picture.

The real trick: transporting your Munchkin, stroller, & paper-&-cotton-&-glue bunny home on 2 subways & a train in the rain. While the bunny survived (I’m still wondering how!), the carrot was lost in action. Sorry, Munchkin: Mommy can only do so much.

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