Big Apple Books: Charlie Girl

What fun it was to chat with Elizabeth Frogel, author of the Charlie Girl: "Tails" of A Very Original Poodle series, over coffee at Irving Farm recently (one of my favorite spots)! As I continue to review NYC-based children's books, it's been such a treat to sit down with authors and illustrators lately & get to know their stories more personally.
The idea for the Charlie Girl series came from Ms. Frogel's own poodle, Charlie, and her experiences in Central Park, otherwise known as NYC's back yard. Inspired by Charlie & her doggie friends, Frogel wrote the first book as an homage to Charlie's hometown. I just love the vintage feel of the illustrations in this book, and the girls have really enjoyed reading about Charlie Girl & her adventures (Charlie's fond of shopping at Bergdorf Goodman, visiting art galleries & eating in cafes along Madison Avenue... naturally).
And why stop with just one book? Charlie's vivacious personality warrants a whole series! Future books in the series will bring Charlie to Los Angeles, Paris, London & more. This pup has quite the adventurous spirit, but there's no place like home, of course.
In addition to a hardcover copy of the book, you can also follow along with Charlie's adventures online. I also love that Frogel offers educational worksheets for teachers & parents who would like to make Charlie's experiences a learning opportunity as well as an entertaining one.
Stay tuned for more from this precocious pup!


Week in Review: Winter Break Survival

I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive going into Winter Break (NYC public schools get a week off in February every year), mostly because it has been unbelievably cold -- as everyone knows! -- and I was worried about cabin fever setting in on Monday at about 10:15am. Thankfully, I managed to keep us busy enough, with little outings on most days that kept everyone happy and entertained... and mama's sanity intact.

See below for a few photos from our week's adventures... from bathing-suit-mermaid-pretending in our living room to outings in Central Park. It was actually a lot of fun. Not perfect by any stretch (hair pulling, tattle tailing & copy catting, oh my!) but we made the most of our week, and for that I'm grateful.

How cute are these swimsuits from Garnet Hill Kids? I love a tankini for little girls, which makes trips to the potty SO much easier! Dreaming of warm weather over here, and these bright colored suits are helping a lot!

 Later in the week, we headed to one of my favorite spots in Central Park: the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre. "Jack in the Beanstalk" is performing currently, and the girls loved it!
Tickets are $7/children & $10/adults -- check their website for scheduling information.

And guess what? When you're walking in Central Park and decide on a whim that sledding might be fun, sitting on a plastic bag works remarkably well! There's my #parentinghack for the day, thanks to the friends who were with us.
Millie's class at school goes ice skating once a week, and she's really starting to get the hang of it this year.
I, on the other hand, have ice skated about three times in my life and wouldn't say it comes naturally. AT. ALL. The things we do for our children! I made it around Lasker Rink a few times while gripping the sides, and right before we took this photo, she told me it was okay if I fell. "You just get up and keep going, mama." Good advice, Millie.... good advice.


Back to regularly scheduled programming this week... 


Getting Creative with Sprout by HP (part 1)

This post is sponsored by HP. Thanks for supporting Baby Meets City!
Last month I was invited to try out the new Sprout by HP creativity station, and I've been having so much fun playing around with it! In addition to being a pretty sweet desktop PC (with a 23'' diagonal touchscreen, I have to mention), Sprout offers a whole host of creative options when its touch mat is activated. PC World described the new Sprout as a "digital sketch pad," and I have to say it's been really fun discovering what it offers, especially to someone like me who is admittedly not the most tech-proficient person in the world (translation: if I can figure this out & have fun with it, so can you!) I'll be sharing more details in my next post, including a fun project reveal and why this might be a useful tool for bloggers.
In the meantime, I'm not the only one who's been having fun with Sprout! The girls have been loving Crayola Color, Draw & Sing, which comes already installed. This creativity app combines the best of art and music by playing songs as your child "paints" their picture. I should mention my 5 year old had already figured how to go back to "home" and pick a new picture to color before I did. And I'm only slightly exaggerating...

Fun times with Sprout by HP. More to come!


It Takes a Village #SisterhoodUnite

There are many things that I love about raising my children here in New York City... but I'll be the first to admit that getting a stroller on & off the subway with a baby & toddler, and oh, four bags of groceries... well, that's not so much fun. Throw in the fact that your baby is crying & your toddler is screaming about having to go to the bathroom. THEN, get off the train only to discover that the elevator isn't working & you'll have to take the stairs several flights up to exit the station.

Yep. That, my friends, is Hell on Earth right there... and it's happened to me on more than one occasion. But here's the thing, my faith in humankind is almost always restored, because 9 times out of 10, someone always helped me lift the stroller upstairs, held a child's hand if necessary or carried a bag of groceries. That kind of support from total strangers is truly immeasurable, and it serves as another reminder that a small gesture goes a long way (and helps a mother's sanity remain intact, I might add).

As a result, I'm thrilled to help promote Similac's new program, The Sisterhood of Motherhood. The idea is simple: lets end judgment amongst mothers & embrace unity between us. Let's nourish each other the same way we nourish our children. To understand, wholeheartedly, that it takes a village (even if the village is New York City).

If you haven't seen Similac's video around this new initiative, you can check it out HERE. It's hilarious & heartwarming at the same time, and its message gets right to the point: we're all in this together, mamas.

Join the conversation on Similac's new Facebook page.

Here's a photo of my village, circa 2010:

A photo posted by Ellen Schmidt (@babymeetscity) on

Disclosure: I've partnered with Similac for The Sisterhood of Motherhood Program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. All opinions expressed are my own. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.


A Sweet Afternoon with Sugartooth Tours

How does leisurely strolling through Chelsea & the West Village (sans kids), sampling the most delicious treats, sound to you? Not too shabby, right? Oh! You have no idea... my friend and I took part in a special Valentine's Day tour with Sugartooth Tours yesterday, and it was so much fun!

A variation of their "Sweeter than Sugar" tour, this one featured special little Valentine's Day tid bits, along with information about each shop & neighborhood we visited. As it turns out, playing tourist in your own town & getting to catch up with a friend was just what I needed after a long week with the kiddos. And while it's been a while since the two of us were on the dating circuit, we both remarked that this tour would be such a cute date idea, especially around Valentine's Day.

But let's see it in pictures, shall we? Our first stop was City Cakes in Chelsea, which in addition to the most beautiful cakes you've ever seen, also bakes INCREDIBLE 1/2 pound cookies. Yep, you read that correctly.

Next, we made our way to Chelsea Market for a stop at Amy's Bread and their famous hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows. Delish! Did you know that at the end of each day, Amy's Bread donates their extra bread to Fountain House & City Harvest (8000 lbs per month from 3 stores!) Love their charitable giving AND their hot chocolate. Win, win!

We took a walk along The High Line before cutting across the West Village to our next destination...

Chocolate Bar. Have you been? At the risk of sounding weirdly pretentious, their truffles are to die for (Hint hint... try the passion fruit)!


Our last stop brought us to Sweet Revenge, which prides itself on being the nation's only cupcake, wine & beer bar. Sufficed to say, I nearly rolled myself home. But you know what? Totally worth it.

It was so nice to take a mental health afternoon & be a tourist in my own town. To remember why you live here. Sugartooth Tours offers a wide variety of tour options, and it's the perfect way to spend some time with a friend, with family from out of town or a date with a special someone. Highly recommend!

Valentine's Tours are available this coming weekend, February 13th at 5:30pm, on the 14th at 2pm and 5:30pm, and on the 15th at 2pm and 5:30pm. The "Sweeter Than Sugar" tour is also available year round on Sunday afternoons.


Broadway Bargains with TodayTix

It's been a while since I've seen a Broadway show. Isn't that sad?! I live in a city with some of the best theater in the world, and yet I rarely get to a show. A big reason, of course, is the price tag. A pair of tickets to a Broadway show can run upwards of $200, which isn't an average night out in my household (though wouldn't that be nice!)

This past week I was invited to see a revival of the hit show, On The Town, by the new Broadway ticket app, TodayTix. Offering last minute tickets to Broadway shows at a steep discount, I am SO thrilled to know about this service. Just perusing the app today, I'm astonished at the low prices I found (On The Town tickets from $30, If/Then from $42, Matilda from $37... the list goes on!). After picking your seat and purchasing via an easy check out system, you can opt to meet your concierge outside the theater. He/she will personally hand you your ticket, thus enabling you to skip the box office line. Hurrah!

TodayTix also offers the first of its kind mobile lottery ticket system. If your plans are flexible and you decide you might like to see a show in the evening, simply enter the lottery for even cheaper tickets and hey, you just might be going to see a show that same night for as low as $10. (This option is not available for all shows, but check the app & see if your favorite is one of them!) In a commitment to make first class theater available to a wider audience, TodayTix has also teamed up with The Public Theater, New York City Center and more. Truly exciting for everyone who loves the theater!
Meanwhile, I have to mention that On The Town was such a treat. The performances from the entire cast were really wonderful, particularly the dancing by the two main leads, Tony Yazbeck and Megan Fairchild, a principal dancer with the NYC Ballet. Such a joy to watch them together!
New York, New York... it really is a helluva town. Check out TodayTix, my friends, and get yourself to the theater for a song!
Disclosure: While I was given a pair of tickets to see On The Town, all opinions expressed herein are my own.


How To Make Snow Ice Cream

First, I have to mention that my Midwestern-raised husband thinks the concept of snow ice cream is the most ridiculous thing he's ever heard. Well, phooey on him! When you grow up in South Carolina and see snow three times your entire childhood, just about anything having to do with the white stuff is pretty exciting. Thus, yesterday's "blizzard that wasn't" seemed like the perfect opportunity to introduce the girls to snow ice cream, which I remember making with my mom... one of those three times it snowed growing up.
Here's what you need:
4-5 cups of CLEAN snow (the clean part cannot be emphasized enough, for obvious reasons)
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine milk, sugar & vanilla & stir until the sugar dissolves. Slowly add your collected snow and mix together. Enjoy! It's just that simple, and the girls had so much fun making this special afternoon treat.

We added a little food coloring to give it pizzazz, but there's lots of add-ons you could include like whole or pureed fruit, sprinkles, chocolate sauce... mmm... the list goes on!

Happy Winter, folks! Here's to one or two more good snows and then even I might be over it...
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