an anniversary

Today marks the first year anniversary of Baby Meets City. Wow. Honestly, it's difficult for me to wrap my head around the many changes that have taken place this year, all having to do with our resident sweetie pie, Baby S. She is the reason I started this blog and the motivation behind all posts. As I've mentioned before, I'm also grateful that this outlet provides me with a reason to write again, which I hadn't done in some time. And the best part? Blogging is lotsa fun. I've had some exciting opportunities this year as a result of Baby Meets City, and I look forward to what the future will bring.

I've decided to celebrate the happy occasion with a bottle of champagne new blog design by the fabulous Heather and Kate at Smitten Blog Designs. We are still tweaking a couple things, but I'm pretty excited to have a fresh new look. Cause we all need to update the 'do every now and again, eh? I'm also using this platform to undertake a new project, which I'm really excited about. You can read more about that here. Rather than bore you with all the minutiae of how motherhood has changed my life (I realize this info is thrilling for immediate family only), I thought I'd share my very first post for a walk down blogging lane.

A Blog Prologue
So... Baby S hasn't actually arrived yet. With less than a week before my due date, Husband and I are finding it pretty hard to think about anything else but Little One's impending arrival. Looking around our cozy (translation: tiny) apartment, I still find it hard to believe that there will be another person joining us soon... but the SUV stroller (on lend from a very generous friend), swing, perfectly sweet crib and old dresser converted into changing table beg to differ. Oh, and the fact that the stomach and I can't get off the couch unassisted.

We are beyond excited while nervous/anxious/overwhelmed at the same time; can you tell we're first time parents? Just referring to myself as the "M" word is a tough one to tackle. Oh, the responsibility... the decisions... the worry that will manifest once this child appears. Whew. Husband reminds me to breathe and hormones prevent me from thanking him for this sage advice.

There are plenty of people who've wondered aloud HOW ON EARTH we could possibly raise a child in the Big Apple. This does wonders for the confidence, let me tell you. I do understand, however, that unless you live here it would be difficult to imagine. I have to mention that the sheer number of strollers on the street causes me to sigh in relief... and no, I don't think I ever noticed their abundance until I became pregnant. The truth is, I do feel that despite the obvious "spacial issues" and traffic noise that may indeed keep the baby from sleeping at times, I think NYC is a very livable city for families. I look forward to taking our child to the Museum of Natural History, Central Park, to book fairs and Broadway shows. He/she will grow up with an understanding of other cultures just by virtue of living in the melting pot that is New York City. That makes me happy. Now, it's entirely possible that we'll get fed up with the lack of space and begin to actually yearn for a lawn mower, driveway and close proximity to Target. It is possible. But for now, in this time and place, we are urbanites looking for the best way to raise our baby in this great metropolis.

The adventure will begin soon... and I do believe (hope) we're up to the challenge.

A year later, Baby S is soon approaching her 1st birthday. I think we've proven to ourselves that we're up to the challenge. As for the adventure, well, there's a new one every day!


sandwich night

The Deen Bros.
Last week, I attended a lunch sponsored by the Grain Foods Foundation, led by Jamie and Bobby Deen (sons of the fabulous Paula Deen) and hosts of the Food Network's "Road Tested." Like any good Southern girl (especially one living in far off NYC) I was beyond thrilled to find myself ONE DEGREE AWAY from Paula herself. My family and I used to take day trips to Savannah every year, I own her cookbooks, I love butter, she reminds me of nearly every Southern woman I know over the age of 60... you get the idea. I was a happy camper. I also happen to love a sandwich, which was the event theme.

It should come as no surprise that most Americans choose to eat sandwiches during lunch. The Grain Foods Foundation would like to encourage families to think outside of the sandwich box, as it were, and make one evening a week "Sandwich Night." It's a concept I can get behind seeing as "I heart bread" might as well be my middle name. The only dilemma is that I don't have much imagination when it comes to making them... Husband makes grilled cheese sandwiches; I make PB&Js. 'Cause we're wild and crazy like that.

Jamie and Bobby's culinary skills (and their panini press) really opened my eyes to the wide array of sandwich possibilities out there. I'm sharing my favorite recipe of theirs at the end of this post, but for more choices, check out this link for an endless - and I do mean endless - list of sandwich recipes. I'm also pleased to report that the boys (I realize they're grown men but they were Paula's boys first) were as nice as they could be, completely down to earth and happily at home in the kitchen. Perhaps my favorite line of the day was from Bobby, who said for them, "the kitchen is the heart of the home." Sure, you can find that quote on any faux wood stenciled frame at Cracker Barrel, but what can I say, it gave me a big ol' warm fuzzy.

For a chance to win your OWN sandwich night with the Deen brothers, enter here.

The Deen Brothers' Grilled Bacon Pimento Cheese Sandwich
Pimento cheese is a Southern staple, and I hadn't had it in years. And everything is better with bacon. Enjoy!

8 Slices White Bread
1/4 cup butter, softened
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
pinch of garlic powder
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 oz. cream cheese
1 (4 oz.) jar of pimentos, drained and diced
1 teaspoon grated onion
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium mixing bowl using a hand held mixer, beat cream cheese mayonnaise and garlic powder until smooth. Add in Jack and Cheddar cheese, pimentos and grated onion. Beat until well blended. Stir in crumbled bacon. Salt and pepper to taste. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Top 4 of the slices with bacon pimento cheese spread. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread (butter side out). Heat grill pan or
 griddle to medium. Grill sandwiches until golden brown on one side. Flip to other side and continue cooking until golden brown. Serve warm.


menus for minis

Today I'm excited to feature a guest post by Carla Sullivan, founder of MiniMunchers. This informative website is the first to list and rate all NYC restaurants that feature menus for children. So genius! I will be doing a Guest Muncher review in the coming months and am excited to contribute to this valuable resource for NYC families. If there's one thing I know, it's that we all like going out to eat. A lot. MiniMunchers helps take the guesswork out of what to order the kiddies.

As a mom of two, I know first hand how difficult it is to come by healthy restaurants that cater to children. Many experts will advise parents to order off the adult’s menu for tots when eating out to avoid fried/starchy foods (i.e. chicken nuggets, French fries, grilled cheese), which can get pricy (not to mention a little difficult for kiddies who are used to crayons and ketchup with restaurant dining). But MiniMunchers has uncovered a few great spots in the city with dedicated children’s menus that are sure to please both parents and kids alike!

1. Moomah - A great spot to bring your tot in TriBeCa. Not only is the extensive menu local, seasonal AND organic (with dairy-free and gluten-free choices) but kids are encouraged to play while they eat with incredibly beautiful and engrossing (yeah) art projects! If you visit on Friday or Saturday the back room (“Funky Forest”) is open for kids to run around and explore!

2. Candle Cafe - Leave your stroller at home (or bring a collapsible) when visiting this UES, organic, vegetarian mecca. This jewel-box restaurant has one of the most extensive organic menus (kids and adults) in the City. The children’s menu has everything from pizza margarita (with tapioca cheese) to seitan skewers. Ask your server if you have any questions - they keep a book at the counter with every menu items ingredients listed and described in detail.

3. Counter - When in the LES of Manhattan, Counter is a great healthy alternative for families. Not only are they a vegetarian Bistro, but they serve organic wine and martinis. The children’s menu features the standards – but with a twist – Tofu Nuggets, Grilled Cheese (with vegan cheddar) – and some info on famous vegetarians; Susan B. Anthony, Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi.

4. Fig & Olive - Midtown West Location only - Ok, so they only have a kids menu at brunch on weekends – but the best part about the menu (for us moms with little ones) is that they have Earth’s Best Organic Baby Food. So NICE to not have to schlep food for baby!

Visit MiniMunchers for the complete children's menus of these great restaurants and many more!


click here for a deal

I love a deal.  I will keep the tag on a dress till the last possible moment, just so I can see one last time that I scored it for less than half of the original price.  Hurrah!  I used to peruse the racks at TJ Maxx and Century 21, happy as a clam.  Then I had a baby (translation: goodbye leisurely shopping).   My computer has quickly become my shopping buddy.

Luckily, there are a number of discount sites out there in Internet Land.  I wanted to share a few, and if anyone knows of others I might have missed, feel free to pass along.  Happy shopping!

Specific to NYC:
Gaggle of Chicks
Doodledeals (I recently scored a $50 month's pass to Appleseeds - normally $129!)

In NYC & other major cities:
Plum District

Baby & children's clothing & toys (occasionally maternity):
The Mini Social


british bloggers in bangladesh: say that 3 times fast

Courtesy of Sleep is for the Weak
Despite the fact that Babes About Town is a resource & events blog for young parents in London -- not NYC -- I love reading about what they're up to across the pond.  Perhaps it's because of that recurring dream where I live next door to Queen Elizabeth, I'm not sure.  At any rate, reading this blog makes me excited about one day sharing my love of this great European city with Baby S.

I recently read on the site about 3 local mummy bloggers who were invited on a trip to Bangladesh by Save The Children, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and families around the world.  Goal of the trip?  To highlight the work being done in the country, and to raise awareness of the immense poverty and hardships that children in 3rd world countries experience on a daily basis.

From a blogger's perspective, I have to say I think this project is completely brilliant.  I will write about poopy diapers, teething and the latest gadgets till I'm blue in the face (which is fine & good because this is my space to do that) as it is for all the mom bloggers out there -- the community is a fantastic resource -- but this project is recognizing our powerful voice and using it to help make a difference.

Courtesy of Sleep is for the Weak
The 3 Bloggin' Mamas sent to Bangladesh:

Sian To @ Mummy Tips
Josie George @ Sleep is for the Weak
Eve Keogan @ Nixdminx

If you choose to read one post, I think Josie George's Beauty & Horror: Two Sides to Bangladesh really sums up their trip in an authentic, yet beautiful, way.  I am not naive enough to think that poverty can be erased overnight -- much less in my lifetime -- but we CAN do a better job of keeping it in the forefront of our minds.  With that said, I applaud Sian, Josie and Eve for taking on this task and sharing with their readers the great work of Save the Children.

For ways you can help, please click here.


national preparedness month begins today

On behalf of the Ad Council and New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM), I'm helping spread the word about National Preparedness Month, which kicks off today.

Do you have a plan for a natural or man-made disaster?  What about an “everyday” contingency plan, if an apartment fire, neighborhood power outage or a water main break happened?  Would your family and friends be prepared and know where to meet up?

Ready NYC provides tips that each and every family (wherever you live) should be aware of:

1) Get an emergency supply kit -- suggested contents are listed here.
2) Make a family emergency plan
3) Be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and the appropriate response.

You can also "like" the OEM's Facebook page, which offers safety tips and a Get Ready NYC: My Meeting Place Facebook application.

I hope and pray that none of us will EVER have to put an emergency plan into action, but the fact is, we should all be prepared regardless.  Husband and I have a few things stashed away in a "Go" bag, but it's isn't anywhere near completed.  We'll be working on ours tonight.

*Starting today, the Empire State Building will be lit in yellow, which is the signature color of the ReadyNYC logo & program.
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