Filling in the gaps with Kidpass

On the occasional weekend & school holiday (or non-camp days over the summer), when we have nothing official planned, I find myself sometimes paralyzed by choice on what to do with the girls. This is New York City, after all. If we're not checking out a museum or a new playground in a different part of town, we might just be hanging out at home or in our neighborhood (which is perfectly fine, I'm not in to over-scheduling kids).  

Sometimes, though, I'd like for the girls to try a new activity and/or pursue something they have an interest in, without having to commit to a semester or block of classes. I want them to be able to have that freedom to explore and try new things first, while also filling our free days with a fun new activity. I've recently found a platform that fits those needs perfectly: Kidpass

Trying out an art class at The Paint Place

Have you heard of this site? For a monthly fee (there are 3 membership plan options), you'll receive a certain number of credits to access hundreds of classes and activities around the city. With plenty of search options, you can easily find classes to fit every child's interests (from infants through teenagers)! This summer, the girls attended a painting day camp at The Paint Place, we checked out the animal "zoo" at Art Farm in the City and on Election Day, we made chocolate "flags" at Chocolate Works. And honestly that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of classes and experiences for kids. 

Saying hi to the bunnies at Art Farm in the City
Right now, you can try your first month of Kidpass for $19, and I highly recommend it! In addition to filling the gaps in your schedule with fun activities that you might not normally try, it can also be a way for your child to discover a new talent or interest. Ever wanted to try fencing? Gymnastics? Learn to DJ? With Kidpass, the possibilities are endless.

Creating chocolate "flags" at Chocolate Works UWS

I'm thrilled to share Kidpass with all of you -- check out this excellent new resource for parents and let me know what you think!

Disclosure: I was given a temporary membership in order to review Kidpass and its offerings. All opinions herein are my own.


The Big Apple Circus is Back!

After a year-long hiatus, the Big Apple Circus is back at Lincoln Center, celebrating its 40th anniversary. We were lucky enough to attend one of their first performances, and WOW, all I can say is this show never disappoints -- each artist, from jugglers to roller skaters, trapeze artists and tight rope walkers (and more!) are just SO amazing. With a live orchestra to boot!

We first saw the Big Apple Circus a couple years ago, and while a few of the acts are the same (though do you ever tire of seeing a poodle jumping through a hoop?), there were plenty of new performances, too. A duo from South America BLEW ME AWAY with their roller skating act (V loved that one especially since she got roller skates for her birthday) and Nick Wallenda, known for incredible feats on the high wire, closes out the show along with his family. The circus guarantees plenty of "pearl-clutching," crazy fun moments in a space that's intimate enough to allow everyone a great view of the action.

performance photos by Maike Schulz
Catch the Big Apple Circus daily between now and January 7th. In an effort to make sure everyone has a chance to experience the circus, there are also autism-friendly and "Circus of the Senses" performances for those who are hearing and visually impaired. I also wanted to mention that after the show, we ran into a friend of Millie's from school who uses a wheelchair, and his mother said she was very impressed with the access & ease she was able to enter/exit & get around the space. Kudos!

Fun day at the circus with friends!

Disclosure: I was provided with press passes to attend a performance of the Big Apple Circus. All opinions are my own.


Big Apple Books: The Brownstone

Talk to anyone who lives in an apartment building, not just in New York City, and they will likely have an entertaining story to tell about a current or former neighbor. You can't jam a bunch of strangers into a building, sharing common spaces (not to mention walls!) and come out completely unscathed. 

Here's an example, and it's why I can specifically relate to Paula Scher's charming tale, The Brownstone: my current upstairs neighbor is a musical director on Broadway, and he plays his piano every day. ALL DAY LONG. Into the late evening hours. Now, luckily, he is very talented and I typically enjoy listening to him play... but my goodness, sometime the entire Cats songbook is just a bit much. And don't get me started on the voice lessons he teaches!

The Brownstone follows the Bear family of New York City as they try desperately to get a good night's sleep in their apartment. At long last, they figure out a way to make everyone in the building happy, but it takes a bit of shuffling first! I love this book and the vibrant illustrations by Stan Mack. Check it out! 


Plan Your Calendar: Meatpacking District Harvest Fest on 10/28

Harvest Fest 2017, sponsored by the Meatpacking District, is happening again this year on Saturday, October 28th at Hudson River Park. The artisanal market & fair brings together the best of the Meatpacking District's family-friendly goods & services for a day filled with art, music & activities.

The event will offer a host of activities ranging from a family yoga class w/ Love Child to arts-n-crafts, including creating your own trick-or-treat bags w/ Chelsea Market Baskets, "shadow dancing" with performers from The Joyce Theater & a virtual reality booth with Samsung 837. While the event is free to the public, vendors like Ample Hills Creamery & Megu will be on hand with food items for purchase. 4-legged friends won't be disappointed, either -- a costume contest, gourmet treats & photo opportunities are planned for them as well!

Check out a few pics from last year's Fest, and hope to see you there!
(registration for Harvest Fest is appreciated).


Birthdays & Bubbles at the Gazillion Bubble Show (& a discount!)

October is birthday month around here, which basically means it's a bit hectic for the first couple of weeks and culminates with everyone's favorite candy-fueled, ultimate dress up day of the year. Throw in a little pumpkin picking and a fall fair or two and you have one busy (but fun) month. Do I always utter a quick sigh of relief on November 1st? YES, indeed I do.

This year, we continued the tradition of an "experience" birthday celebration rather than a party, which works out well for us and is frankly a bit easier to plan and less expensive than renting a party space, etc. We took Vivian (turning 6!) and her sister and two friends to the Gazillion Bubble Show, an experience I'd heard about for a while now but never seen for myself. So much fun!

This show is fantastic for kids, and let's face it, Husband and I were entertained, too. Because BUBBLES! In all shapes and sizes! Doing all sorts of crazy things! There are not enough exclamation points to describe the situation.

A few points to consider: best seats in the house are definitely in the first 10 rows in the middle section. Worth it to make sure that's where you're seated, trust me. Also, don't decide to bust out your leather jacket or anything that stains easily for the occasion, as you will, without a doubt, get bubble soap on you (which is part of the fun, just go with it...). Lastly, in case your child isn't picked to go on stage, you can spend $20 after the show is over for your child to have their photo taken inside a bubble. It's the worth the money -- the party girls absolutely loved it!

The show, which is now in its 10th year, is currently offering tickets for as low as $45 (regularly $75) with code GBPOP101 -- you can purchase tickets online, on the phone (212-947-8844) or at New World Stages (a gorgeous venue!) using this code. While it's perfect for a birthday (they offer official party packages, too), it's a fun activity no matter the occasion. My girls are still talking about it!

Birthday girl & her crew

Disclosure: I was provided with tickets in exchange for discount promotion. All opinions herein are my own.


A Harvey Foster Dog Tale (With Help from Jet.com)

Getting a dog has been a weekly conversation piece for as long as I can remember. The girls love being around animals in general, but doggies have a special place in their hearts. But the reality of having a dog in a small apartment in New York City is a whole other matter. That said, Husband and I had been talking about a foster dog for a while, as it seemed like a good way to take a pet for a "test run," so to speak, while giving it some much-needed love at the same time.

Enter Hurricane Harvey, which ravaged through southeast Texas and Houston in particular. A blogging friend of mine, Melissa from The Staten Island Family, is a volunteer for Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue. I saw a post of hers on Facebook which said that Louie's Legacy would be going to Houston to relieve an animal shelter affected by the storm. If we were going to get a foster dog, now seemed as good a time as any.

Meet Willie

Once we signed up, everything seemed to move very fast, and I realized I was completely unprepared for a 4-legged friend to come and stay with us. Luckily, I reached out to Jet for assistance (they've been heavily involved with hurricane relief efforts) and they said they'd be happy to help out. Their enormous selection of pet products (and 2 day shipping!) made finding items easy & quick, from a dog bowl and leash to toys and dog food. THANK YOU, JET! You made Willie feel comfortable almost immediately.

Willie has a good heart, clearly loves the girls... and has lots of energy, as he's only 19 months old. He's half Plott Hound and half Dutch Shepard - two breeds I'd never heard of before a week ago! While we are busy juggling a new schedule that revolves almost completely around him (new parents, sound familiar?), I can say wholeheartedly that getting a foster dog is an EXCELLENT way to see if you are ready for a pet full-time. While I would say I'm still in the adjustment period, and I can't for sure say that Willie has found his forever home, I do know that we are giving him some stability and love as he eases out of a traumatizing experience, and that I'm very happy about.

If you're still looking at ways to assist hurricane relief in Texas and Florida, check out Jet's donation page, where there are many ways to help. Through its JetCares "Give a Pack" program, Jet will match the first $25,000 in donations made to both Florida and Texas diaper banks. Amazing! I love to see large companies giving back in a meaningful, direct fashion (and even to rescue dogs they meet along the way).

This story gets an official "to be continued"...


NYC Children's Theater: Endangered! The Musical

The girls and I and a couple of their friends checked out Endangered! The Musical last week & really enjoyed ourselves. The show is currently playing off-Broadway at the Davenport Theatre with an extended run through October 8th.

Endangered! takes a timely & politically-charged topic (global warming) and adapts it in a way for kids to understand its importance and urgency without scaring them- instead, it encourages them to be part of the solution. Combine that with catchy songs, an array of endangered animals at the zoo, one determined tween, and you have a message with a lot of heart. The cast is very strong, particularly a certain piano-playing crocodile, played by Connor Delves.

Little theater-goers before the show!

I love promoting live theater aimed at children, and that Endangered! The Musical mixes song & dance with a reminder that we should take care of our planet, only makes it that much more meaningful. Worth checking out! Ticket information can be found HERE.

Disclosure: Tickets were provided in exchange for a review of the show. All opinions herein are my own.
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