City Kids Are Scared of Chickens But Not Goats

We spent two full days in the house this week playing with our new toys. By Tuesday, it was time to get out so I took the kids to the Met. On Wednesday I took them allllll the way out to the Queens County Farm Museum.

Although Queens in part of NYC, it feels so suburban. At least where the farm is located. They have stand alone houses with driveways and yards! One time we even crossed a street without a stoplight! It's been so long since I've seen that. Since we don't own a car, it took us 1.5 hours to get there. Three trains and a bus.  It's been over a year since I drove a car. I've said this before-- I really do enjoy the walking/public transportation lifestyle Manhattan has forced me to live. I never realized how isolating a car can be until I moved here. It's not that I'm talking to everyone on the train, but if I wanted to, I could. I like having that option.

It was beautiful grey winter day to visit the farm. The ground was still muddy from Tuesday's downpour.  Wednesday was their annual open house so we made crafts, drank hot cider, my boys kept sneaking almost all the cookies (so embarrassing, I owe them a box of cookies . . .), and we fed the goats. There's also cows, alpacas, chicken coops, bee hives, and sheep to check out.

While the farm had a steady crowd of people, my kids felt like they had the place all to themselves. When we walked into the gate Ella shouted, "Wow! We're the first ones here!" I had to explain to her that we weren't. She's so used being packed in with 10 million people at any given moment.  Here it wasn't like that. We had space. So much space that my kids started to get uneasy and say, "Mom? I don't think we're aloud back here. Uhhh. Let's go back to the farmhouse." I had to convince them to walk around the farm with me. Bonus: the bathrooms were clean!

Below is a picture of the gift shop. Owen insisted he found a better spot for the picture. Find him? Oscar's holding a purple crayon that he would later use to tag that beautiful red door. I told the shop keeper while Oscar covered his face with his hat. He was so ashamed!

Next year I'm looking forward to their 3 acre maize maze.  Ever been to a maize maze? Can you believe there's one in NYC?


Christmas Day 2011

1. A ream of copy paper from the Phantom. He strikes again OAJ!
2. A hippy outfit from Santa. Loving the upside down guitar.
3. Cars costume and race track from Grandma. Model cars from Aunt Elaine. Thank you!


Matching PJ's 2011

One of my favorite traditions is to open new pj's the night before Christmas. So far I've always bought matching ones. I hope it gets to be a running joke and they will get matching pj's until . . . forever!

*This year I got the pj's from a J.Crew sale in November. Not seeing these particular red ones online anymore. Find close ones here. Maybe next year they will be back!

UPDATE: Check out 2012's matching jammies here. :)


Christmastime in the City

Merry Christmas! One of my favorite times of the day is when I fiddle with my photos, write a little something about my day and then post it on my blog. Thanks for reading and for all the nice comments.  Hope you have a fun weekend with your family. I'm looking forward to all the magic.


Circus Circus

Last week we went to The Big Apple Circus for a birthday party. Loved it! It was sweet (no tigers or elephants!) and silly (lots of clown acts!). Every time I see people flying on the trapeze, it makes me want to take lessons at Trapeze School NY. I think I would be a natural! ha.  Have you ever swung from a trapeze? I love how effortless and fun they make it look. 

This woman was so strong! She was HOLDING these positions. Her act was my favorite.

Poor Owen was sick so he couldn't go. He spent the night with dad eating sorbet and watching Happy Feet.  We'll go back to Big Apple Circus someday for him!

Thanks Rebecca for inviting us to M's party!



It's rumored that ABC Home gets the real Santa, so I had to check him out. What do you think? Is this the real Santa? The line to see him stretched out the store onto the sidewalk, but it moved really fast. 20-25 minutes wait the Saturday before Christmas is not bad. As a bonus, ABC Home gave out pretty lollipops!

If anyone is keeping track, Ella has worn that same dress to sit on Santa's lap for the past three years. Maybe four! It's a size 3T. That little shrimp. And another thing, is it just me or does Owen (in the bowtie) already seem doubtful?


Happy Hanukkah!

My next door neighbor invited me and the kids to a Hanukkah party last week and again today to light the Menorah. She served jelly donuts and potato pancakes and then taught my kids how to play dreidels. It's been the favorite game at my house lately.  I beam every time I hear my kids shout the Hebrew words: "Nun! Shin! Hay! GIMMEL!!" For the rules of the game click here. Super easy and fun! After all of the chocolate coins were eaten, my kids used Christmas ornaments as game pieces. Ironic, but it works.

Last night when Oscar was saying his prayers he said, "Dear Heavenly Father: I celebrate Hanukkah now and Jesus loves me . . ." Awesome. Also when we were leaving the cab today, Oscar asked the driver, "What holiday do you celebrate?" The cab driver responded, "Oh, I'm Catholic. So I celebrate Christmas!" Later on at school, Oscar did such a wonderful job singing Ella Jenkin's, "Harmonica for Hanukkah." Sweet. I love all these religious conversations happening in my family this time of year. So interesting!


New Shoes

Paolo Nutini's song "New Shoes" captures everything about our walk to school this morning. Even the late part.

Let me explain:

Last Wednesday we went to an amazing event at 77kids Times Square hosted by Moms and the City. The store is located right in the heart of Times Square so it feels more like an attraction rather than clothing store. It has interactive photo booths, chalkboards in the dressing rooms, and a music video program that puts your kids onto the big screens. There was even an 8-year-old DJing the event! I've never been to a store like it. Go!

Everyone who attended the event received generous 77kids gift cards and after browsing the store, I knew Owen and Oscar were getting new shoes. Bravo to whoever decides what shoes 77kids sells. Boys heregirls here. So many cute options, right? Which ones would you buy? Minnetonka Fringe Boots have my heart. I got these amazing Clarks boots for the boys. I thought it was a good choice because they're warm in the winter and great for school or church. Ella even fits into them and looks adorable. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. 

Thanks Moms and the City and 77kids for the new shoes! I couldn't wait until Christmas to give the Clarks to the boys. I'm glad I didn't wait. It made for such an unexpected fun morning!


New York City Holiday Windows

My first assignment for NY Family was to write about the window displays in NYC.  I wrote the basic outline for the article in the office yesterday, but I needed the real life experience to put the finishing touches on the piece. I needed to observe how my kids reacted to each window. Which windows needed me to lift them up to see it better? Which windows had my kids asking the most questions? Which windows were better seen in person than through online pictures? 

In the end, all of my questions were answered easily. It turned into an unplanned, unexpected magical night. All I had to do was dust off my double stroller, pack way too many gloves/hats/jackets and walk over 30 city blocks. Nothing to it! We began at the Macy's in Herald Square (pictured above), then crossed over to Fifth Ave and headed north until we got to Barneys (below). Dare I say it? I think window watching is another holiday tradition! Add it to the list.

My favorite window display? Tiffany and Co's (above). There’s just enough room for two people to look inside each tiny window at a time so it creates an intimate experience. The effect is lovely. Every window is a dreamy world filled with carousels. I eventually got tired holding up each kid so they could see but the effort was worth it. It’s almost as if everything on 5th Ave. stopped and I was finding a great city secret. But then I remembered, Oh yeah. It's Tiffany's. On 5th Ave. Millions of people have seen these windows. But it felt like it was mine! Check out more pictures here.

Update: I kept reminding myself to be calm and nice to my kids today. It worked for the most part. They still annoyed me a few times. "Get your hands out of the Nutella! Stop that!" And take a wild guess who really tested me when he accidentally peed his pants on the bus ride home. I watched the whole thing happen. More importantly, guess who didn't get mad and promised not to tell anyone? Me!  


All the Diverse Holidays This Season

I love living in NYC for many reasons, but one of my favorite things is the religious and cultural diversity. Having my kids be surrounded by people that share different points of view is really important to me. I think it helps set the stage for them to eventually form their own opinions. And New Yorkers aren't shy to tell you their opinions! I think that's a good thing though. Because what I've experienced so far is a high level of acceptance and curiosity, especially during this holiday season. What will you be celebrating this winter season?

Here's my list of diverse winter holidays currently being celebrated around the world!

Some on my list aren't exactly celebrated here NYC. . . but most of them are!

Did I miss any?


My No Make-Up Life Vs. Make-Up Life

I took these pics for a story one of the Babble bloggers is doing about no make-up vs. make up. I don't know when the post is going up, but I thought I'd show you my pics because starting tomorrow, I'll be wearing make-up again. For the past couple of months, when I'm picking the kids up from school and working from home, I'll be lucky if my teeth are brushed you'll be lucky if my teeth are brushed. Blame it on the fact that I live in the Upper West Side. It's how people usually see me, but not tomorrow.

I'm heading back to the office at New York Family to start my internship in the editorial side of the magazine. I'll be back to reading books on the subway as I commute. Skipping lunch (it's good for me--I've been finishing off way too many tubs of Pillsbury frosting lately). Walking a few miles in heals. Most of all writing!

I hope I'm nice to my kids in the morning. Especially when we are running late and Oscar's shoe goes missing. Every time. Or later when Owen refuses to wear his hat and starts dragging it on the sidewalk. And then dangles it over a city trash can and waits for me to react. Not that that has ever happened.

Tomorrow morning, I want my kids to see that I'm working on my dream. I want the message to be really clear: That I'm happy and grateful and excited about this opportunity. I want them to see that this is going to do great things for me and the family. Otherwise, if I'm all grumpy and frustrated as I help them find their shoes, they might not know. And that could be really confusing to them.  I'll see how I do. Who knows what the morning will bring?

10 Charities That Are Meaningful to My Kids

This Christmas, I'm giving my kids money to donate to a charity of their choice. It sounds like a simple idea, but I was overwhelmed! So many charities to choose from! And how would they be meaningful to my kids? So I did some research.

First, I read through the list of charities that currently have the BBB National Charity Seal, just to feel confident that we are giving to legit organizations. Then, I looked through pictures I've taken of my kids in 2011 and tried to match the pictures up with charities. I was able to edit the huge list down to three charities per kid to choose from. And I even found one for our cousin Henrietta!

Here's the 10 charities that connect with my kid's 2011 memories.  

You're going to love the pictures I found from my archives! Some of my favorites of the year!

I hope it makes them feel a bond with the charity they choose and the people they are helping.

How do you help your kids learn about giving this time of year?

Let's Go to the Movies! Let's Go See The Stars

Last week, I got a last minute invite to see a screening of Steven Spielberg's new movie War Horse. It was so visually stunning! The shots of the farmhouse in England were amazing. I couldn't help but feel like I'm raising my kids all wrong. They need horses! And fields! And a pet goose! British accents!

After the movie was over and I wiped away all my tears, Emily Watson (seen above and below) entered the theatre for a Q&A. It was wonderful to see her gracefully answer all the questions off the top of her head.

I always wonder when I'm watching people get interviewed--Did they know these questions before the came in? How are they answering them so quickly and perfectly? Do they all have the gift of gab? Doesn't their mind ever go blank? Is this rehearsed? I'm sure sometimes it is, and other times it's just that they get asked the same questions over and over so it gets easier. But I know that she was given some questions at our Q&A that she couldn't have been prepared for. The last question someone asked her was, "What is your favorite toddler friendly meal?" Mind you it was a very mommy blogger audience, she took a second to think about it, and thoughtfully said, "While my kids are out of the toddler stage now, I remember them loving lasagna!" Good answer.

Wouldn't it be scary to get interviewed? She didn't seem to be. All I saw was someone who is incredibly likable and smart. Love those characteristics in a woman.

Thanks Moms and the City for hosting the event! I had a blast.

movie pics from collider and movie fanatic


5 Must-Do Holiday Traditions (And 5 I'm Skipping)

Oh wow. I've had to take a break from the blogging world since December started. It's crazy out there this time of year! Crafts! Elf on the Shelf! Gift Guides! Glue guns are loaded. Yikes. I tried to keep up with the best of them, but I'm tired. And a little anxious and it's only the 10th of December! I still have 14 more days of this madness. So tonight I simplified Christmas for myself.

Click here to read my list of 5 must-do holiday traditions and 5 I'm skipping.

Anything on the top of your todo list? Anything you already know you'll skip? Will you be posting pictures of your Christmas tree? Just do it.

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