Tag Archives: #familyfun

NY, NY Year-Round!

How do you find family fun when it appears to be hidden inside this enormous city!  

Here’s just a glimpse at what is going on at any given time of the year:

January – March:

If snow is not your thing… hit up a museum or a musical!  There are countless options, but the Children’s Museum is in “our backyard” and it’s my son’s favorite!  Aladdin the Broadway Musical, and Lion King tend to be family favorites… we also enjoyed School of Rock!

Ice skate!  …there’s a few spots around town, but of course, most popular is “The Rink”! Clink the link for more information about Rockefeller Center ice skating!

If it’s snowy… sled!  …families walk to various areas of Manhattan parks to slip, slide and sled!

No snow?  No problem… we hit up one of the many playgrounds in Central Park, (they have even been renovated since this photo below)!  Then warm up with some yummy NYC pizza!

Where’s the BEST pizza?  Ray’s used to be THE most talked about pizza, and for good reason!  However we have found that today various Ray’s locations do not live up to the hype.  We love pizza from Patsy’s, Pappardella, and Little Italy Pizza.  There’s also Sabas!  (just a few of my picks on the UWS)!

A brisk winter’s walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on a clear day or a visit to the Freedom Tower (with its incredible views) with take your breath away!


 …and every March 17th there is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

…still slushy outside?  Let’s head to Frames Bowling (near Times Square)!







Spring & Summer!

How about a trip on the Staten Island Ferry or a visit to Lady Liberty?

Explore Central Park…. (near the UWS) there’s Turtle Pond, and the Belvedere Castle…. and OH so much more!  Can you see the little turtle swimming below?

We like to go to playgrounds… Adventure Playground (in Central Park at W. 67th Street) is wonderful!  Another favorite is “Elephant” Playground in Riverside Park (at W. 76th and Riverside Dr.)!

Below: A Spring play date on a chilly morning in Adventure Playground, and splashing around in Elephant Playground in June!

My son loves to turn the scorching hot slide (at Elephant Playground) into a thrilling water slide!  …the only way to go down on sizzling days!

Memorial Day & the 4th of July are very crowded in NYC (lots of tourists) so besides visiting friends, or getting a glimpse of the fireworks from our rooftop we didn’t do too much!  My good friend had a GOOD idea for the 4th of July:  #1.  Find out where the fireworks will be set off (locations vary).  #2  Rent a hotel room facing the view and #3 Enjoy!  Her six-year-old and entire family had a BLAST!  I wish I would have thought of that!

Lots of city people head out to The Hampton’s & surrounding beaches.  (but travel to and from can be difficult and pricey).  We have visited Coney Island & Rockaway Beach.  On my last Coney Island trip, I was baffled by the amount of litter in the ocean (and even found myself cleaning up).  Sigh.  Not very relaxing… but I usually fall into the “good samaritan” category!

After a long day at the beach – a hot dog and fries from Nathan’s is always a good idea!  Lines are long, no matter how many employees are working!  It’s definitely a popular attraction!

Ready for a change up?  Then you’re Brooklyn bound!  (below):

We take the subway to the nearest stop, then walk to Pier 6!  Henry loves it, and there are interactive gears, and water sprays and such!  I find it to be a bit loud at times (when you are surrounded by a bounty of screaming kids and screaming parents sometimes screaming at their kids).  One day towards the end of summer I saw two moms drinking Brooklyn Brewery beers… Hells yeah, I walked a few paces and grabbed one myself.  There’s also food, treats, seating, nearby bathrooms, and more!

September – December

There’s all the back-to-school excitement and even meets-ups with friends at the school…. September is quite busy!

Fall Festivals are all around in October (we even have one right at our kiddo’s school).  Some head out to farms to partake in traditional pumpkin & apple picking experiences.  I have never gone to a farm — but I have gone to Sleepy Hollow for Halloween thrills at it’s best!

Find out if the Legend of the Headless Horseman is true!  The NYC metro system can get you there, and for more info — just click here!

Trick-or-treating has its “hot spots” for sure!  In the UWS, it’s on 69th Street!  It is incredibly crowded and can be overstimulating so proceed with caution!

Cute friends: October 31, and early November at our favorite playground (Metal Park)!

Another advantage of living on the UWS is — it’s the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!  On the Wednesday evening before there’s an organized “walk through the floats” event (and it’s free)!

Talk about being unclose and personal with a lot of hot air!  This November— I am bringing the wide angled camera lens!  Of course some of our friends attend the parade Thursday morning — but we prefer to watch on TV!


Make sure to treat your little girl (or boy) to tea at the Alice In Wonderland themed cafe Alice’s Tea Cup any time of the year.  The food is truly amazing, and it’s touted as “New York’s most whimsical tea house”!  My kids love it!

If your kiddo loves dinosaurs, and space and sea life… I have got a place for you!  Oh –  the long awaited Butterfly Conservatory is now open too… I have to go back!  My super lucky son gets to visit this museum on school field trips!  (and in the summer we hit up their splash pad fountains)… really cool.  Have you guessed the place yet?

The Museum of Natural History on the UWS… it’s DYNO-MITE!

You are going to need an entire day for this museum — and at the end of your visit — fatigue may set in!  Many head to SHAKE SHACK (across the street) for dinner– then collapse!

December in NYC — there’s just too much to mention, a link here will give you all the ideas!

Remember this was only a glimpse of family fun!  Whew! 



Catch This!

My friend needed help – fast!  Her son’s 10/31 birthday was quickly approaching, and she needed to pull of a Yankees themed birthday party the weekend before.

Cue the party assistant (me)!  I helped make this BOYS & GIRLS party (full of second graders) a HIT, and everyone left with a pretty cool “thank you gift”!
I created a special banner (with photos of the birthday boy), fun framed decor and party bags filled with themed necklaces or keychains …

  …the girls loved the necklaces!    

I used this same idea to create boys’ high quality keychains.  I used blue or steel colored beads along with baseball beads to make a cool yet different design for the boys.  They love to hook the keychains to their school backpack zippers!

Here’s a look at the BASEBALL party…

…his “Bronx grandma” brought an amazing cake, and the kids played at the Baseball Center on the UWS!

      There were at least 25 kiddos, and a few younger siblings tagged along.  Everyone received a party bag — however I didn’t fill it with Cracker Jacks, peanuts, Big League chewing gum and such.  I know NY kids LOVE Air Heads!  Plus I added some Halloween stickers and red, white, and blue pompoms for a little whimsy.    

(my son above right): He would rather juggle than play baseball.  He’s a circus kid, what can I tell ya?

One of the coolest things about this party (besides watching “Manhattan Grandma” cheer on her grandson) was seeing our friends from (ex.) Sweden and Columbia join in, and learn the sport of baseball!  They were not ashamed to admit they never played, didn’t know how, didn’t know the rules, etc., It made me appreciate diverse friendships, supporting and teaching others, and cheering on your fellow teammate!  There is unity in our little world in the UWS.

Above: juggling Henry and “TuTu” (grandma); Enjoying yummy pizza on this super stormy rainy Sunday — what a great day to be inside!



UWS Fall Bake Sale!

On October 21 we attended the annual Harvest Fest at my son’s elementary school!

Along with all of the chaos…err fun… (haunted house, face painting, games, craft & goodie stations) there’s a bake sale!  

It’s interesting to see what POPS up in the Upper West Side!  Do moms in this career-driven-crazy-busy-section of NYC really have time to bake?


The Jello cups were a hit!  I felt bad for the apple teeth — $2 seemed a bit overpriced too.

Are you wondering what that green “thing” is on top of the jack ‘o lantern treats?  Me too!  We had a kid bite in — to find out.  It’s a gummy candy of some sort (sliced into smaller pieces).


There’s options depending on one’s diet!

and…. I have no idea what this “creepy hand” cupcake with frosting is made from (below left):


These “mouth cookies” (above) looked interesting  I think there was strawberry jelly and marshmallows in there!

…hmmmm….a few store bought items.  A nice touch though!  

There were lots of cake pops and marshmallow pops!


I saw a basket of Trader Joe’s pumpkin shaped cookies… it may have gone untouched for the whole event.  

I also saw more versions of a rice crispy treat (with goo and goop) than you can imagine!

So what did I buy?  Just a few simple and traditional chocolate chip cookies.  (I made sure they were homemade)!  

Henry loved them!  …so that was this mummy’s favorite pick of the day!



Dippy Drippy Pumpkins

From my last post — I mentioned that we had a Soccer ‘N Pumpkins in the Park play day…

I saw a cool idea on Pinterest and wanted to do a test run before-hand!  Hmmmm– Michael’s craft store is up near W. 100th Street, I am at W. 77th…  Maybe I could copy the idea with different paint from a store closer by?  Is that a DIPPY idea?  


We have Flying Tiger (party store) nearby and their stuff is CHEAP!  Let’s see what happens!

Step 1 –    Spray paint your pumpkin so the drizzly paint will adhere to it.  We chose orange: spray    We went up on our roof top for this!  Easy!  Oooo shiny.

spray2dribble not-quite

Step 2  

Place your pumpkin on top of something (I repurposed an old juice box.  The idea is that the paint will drizzle all the way down to the bottom and not create a huge puddle

underneath.  I shook the paint a little, the top flew off and it covered parts of the wall and carpet!  What?!  I didn’t even open the top and peel the foil off yet!  Then we had problems squeezing it out for Step 3.  Arnold Schwarzenegger may not have been able to do it.

Step 3  Hold the paint container upside down and start drizzling paint onto the stem, then let the paint slide down the pumpkin like a waterfall.  Henry & I both squeezed the paint together….. It started to look weird; then I found myself saying, “Henry I think that’s enough paint.  It looks like puke.”

Poor kid — he was so excited.  I wiped off the Flying Tiger paint with paper towels (returned the yucky paint), then got the RIGHT kind of acrylic paint at Michael’s craft store.

Step 3 (again)

Drizzle CRAFT SMART acrylic paint.  Don’t be DIPPY like me and buy the cheap imitation.  I repurposed a used plastic cup for the run-off; (there is still residue from the old paint though).  Step 4: sprinkle with glitter (optional) and let dry.

 paint2    Much better!    again

Henry had so much fun — he wanted to keep going!  I had some foam pumpkin cut-outs (from Michael’s) and foam brushes (from Flying Tiger).  We continued with more creations.  Our cat wanted to check things out too!

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The cute gold party plates are from Flying Tiger.

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We also got the large confetti pieces at Flying Tiger; glue and marker from Michael’s.

img_9590 I don’t know if you can tell — but Louie the cat has a special yellow pumpkin with green paw-print eyes & nose.  Then I clipped two confetti pieces to look more like cat ears (in a triangular shape).

Here is how it looked in the park…  

We brought orange and red spray paint, and ended up using mostly red.  I bought some paper bowls (on clearance at a drug store).  They propped up the pumpkins, and let the paint drizzle down (the lid of the bowl caught the run-off).

colors  The red paint was pretty!  colors5

colors2    colors3    colors4

The pumpkins were a hit!  The washable paint was a relief to all the parents!  Henry’s class of 6-year-olds were able to create some real magic here, but little siblings had a tough time.  I wouldn’t recommend this to kids younger than five.

We topped off the wet paint with a little glitter (from Flying Tiger). It reminded me of pixie dust;  It’s very fine and stays put (does not rub off and get all over clothes or the home).  Nice!  Once the pumpkins are dry — you can glue on some silly plastic spiders & snakes or bugs.  Again Flying Tiger had plenty of that stuff — even glow-in-the-dark spiders and snakes!

Finishing Up:  I bought medium paper bags with handles (at Michael’s).  The pumpkins were about 1/2 way dry by the time parents were ready to leave.  I used a napkin to pick up the pumpkin by the stem and placed the semi-dry pumpkin in the paper bag; an easy carry home project.  Some of the kids got Autumn leaves stuck in their pumpkins which was really cool… ahhhhh the joys of making a mess outside!

The younger siblings loved painting the foam cut outs… Later when I arrived at home I looked inside my paper bag; Two foam pumpkins accidentally bumped into each other and the result was this:


Yes, scary!  I had Pre-K kids opening everything, messes were made but contained on the huge rectangular plastic table cloth I put down on the grass.  I used small sticks to stake the plastic table cloth down (so the wind didn’t blow it away).  Since no one went home with a painted little sibling or a painted dog I would say it was a good day!


Bedtime Blues

The midnight conversation…

Henry:  “Mom, Mom!  ….Mom….Mom… Can you please come up (in my loft)?

Seth: “Henry I’ll come up.  Daddy can come up… Daddy can come up.”

Henry: “Nooooooooo.”

Seth: “Daddy can cuddle.”

Henry: “Ugggggggh.  But I don’t want you.  I just want Mom.”

Seth: “But Daddy can give hugs.”

Henry: “But sometimes I am afraid to cuddle with dad.”  — OK he’s a big liar now!

Seth:  “Why?”

Henry: “Cause sometimes I just like girls.  I’m too hot up here.  I just need to go downstairs.  Downstairs is a perfect temperature.  My knee hurts. I need to go downstairs.  I just need Mom.  I don’t like you.”

Henry repeated this again, and the next thing I knew Seth slept up in the loft and Henry slept with me.   Zzzzzzzzzz.

Math Game With Dice!

I totally love this new game for Henry!  He’s in first grade but has always been a little advanced in math (it’s logical)!  So I would say it’s on a first to second grade level.

You need:

  • 3 dice.
  • You need the worksheet!  I grabbed one from a teacher friend — I’ll have to upload it to my site so you can have it too!
  • 2 different colored hi-lighters.
  • Go!

Roll all three dice, add up the numbers and then color the box on the sheet with that number (using your choice of colored hi-lighter).  The next player goes and does the same using a different colored hi-lighter.  Once the numbers run out on the sheet you can’t color anything so the next person rolls the dice and so on.

Henry didn’t want to play so I told him that I would play against the cat.  I put my name and m2Louie’s name on the top.  After a few rolls, I asked Henry to roll for Louie and then Henry “played for Louie” for the rest of the game.  Louie won too!  Wow!

Henry was adding his dice (Louie’s dice) and adding my dice as well because he wanted to see how well I would do.  He starts to get competitive!  I LOVE it because he is using his brain non-stop!  Learning and reinforcing all that is going on in math class at school!


At the end you count up how many boxes each of you colored and who ever has the most wins.


Henry adds up 6 then colors the “6” box

You can play against yourself too.  You can also add some imagination and maybe if your kiddo is a sports fan — for example — he or she can assign one color (purple) for The Ravens, and another color (blue) for The NY Giants.  Or if your kiddo wants to pretend each color is a Disney character then Anna and Elsa can play each other with your child rolling the dice for both.  Don’t stop there — it can be a pet agains another pet, a stuffed animal, favorite characters in a book… 


Play with only 2 dice and use a different number sheet!



Some, Some, Summer Time !

Just a look back on our first LAS VEGAS SUMMER!

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At the start of SUMMER BREAK — I took Henry to a week camp at SPORTS SOCIAL!  Then we continued our weekly Saturday lessons there!

With 110 to 114 degrees out — indoor fun is essential!  (Above) we are at Gravady Extreme Sports, and The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. 


Mom went to Home Depot and Lowes for wood, (all shapes and sizes), pipes, tubes, safety goggles, nails, tools, etc., All of this kept him busy outside for about 20 minutes.  (kidding)


FullSizeRender lunch date… and…  FullSizeRender

What could be better than catching up with a good friend?


We used the Summerlin Community Pool a lot!  It was a great place to chill out!

FullSizeRender  …we got it made in the shade at Red Rock!



The Summerlin 4th of July parade was really impressive!  Click on the link for more pictures submitted by the community.  (scroll down to Photo Contest Entries).


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Making new friends and new discoveries…


  IMG_2662  Staying busy inside the air-conditioned house!   I set up a SCIENCE TEA PARTY FOR HENRY!  This is easy, just use some tea cups, vinegar, baking soda, food coloring….  We recorded our findings afterwards– just to be extra-scientific!





DSC_9516  Road trip to Ojai, CA!!!

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Ojai, CA has hiking, biking, swimming holes, water falls…..


Then Henry and I took an impromptu drive on the P.C.H. to Malibu!  Gorgeous ride up, and a cool down on the beach.

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IMG_3423        DSC_9701 Malibu coastline (on the left) and a little camp out in Mt. Charleston (to the right).


Nothing BUTT fun!

  We enjoyed special friends, books, movies, ice-cream, popcorn, parks and playgrounds!  Mom is wiped out



Our New Pet: Louie


Louie — our cat — is still Henry’s favorite.

He just can’t get enough of this cat!  In fact — we have to be vigilant because Henry gets a little too crazy with Louie.  This fantastic feline is like a drug, and after about ten pets, and a butt scratch Henry loses his mind.  I constantly praise all of the good behavior.  However,  when things get too rough, we give him all of the reminders possible: “Gentle hands, gentle hands… Henry — you are strong, be careful…. You are stronger / bigger than the cat… Get his cat toys and play with him… Just pets…. Get his laser and play with him…. Louie is just a baby, he’s two and you are five…. Don’t hug him so tight…. carry him with two hands….  Don’t pull on his skin…. Don’t scratch his butt too hard… Put the cat down…. If you are too rough, Henry, you go to time out and kitty gets a break… Oh, Henry let him run away from you if he wants, he needs a break, don’t grab him as he tries to get away from you…. LET THE CAT GO, LET THE CAT GO, LET THE CAT GO!!!!”

Yesterday — Henry got a time out for being too rough; He stood there sobbing, so Louie went into timeout with Henry and laid down next to him.


Respite time in the pantry

Henry plays very nicely with Louie too, it’s not all bad.  

And no matter what — Louie always comes back for more.  He is so patient with Henry, I have never seen a cat so tolerant!  Louie really loves us, he even sleeps in our bed!  Our kitty is quite the talker too… he meows and meows… he really chats it up!  It’s pretty funny when he drags his toys around the house, and even into bed with us.  He has two “tail wands” that are pretty chewed up.  He drags them while simultaneously howling– louder than loud!


exhibit A: tail wand

Henry and I even made our own board game about Louie!

You roll the die and move to different spaces.  If you land on a picture of Louie eating — you say, “Stop eating so much Louie.” (yes our cat eats like a Vegas tourist at the buffets).  If you land on a picture of Louie drinking water you say, “Oh I got a wet chin!” (we always know when Louie has been in the water bowl)!  If you land on a litter box — you have to dig 4 or 5 times and get a math card.  If you land on the picture of Louie going out the back door — YOU LET THE CAT OUT — and you must take the long way.  This game encourages Henry’s speech, math, taking turns, following direction, following rules, etc., and at the end you make it into Louie’s heart.


(I actually had to modify it a few times and add more litter box squares!  Henry really likes to land in the litter box)!

cat game

The Louie Game!

On a final note….  Henry has been telling us that he is going to get another cat!  He wants two cats?  Yes, apparently he needs a black and white cat named, “Michael”.

We Be Buggin’!

It’s family day at Garehime Elementary School and the teachers (once again) provided us with an incredible Friday morning!  The theme was nature (rainbows and their colors) and LADY BUGS in all of their magnificent glory!

We started the day off with some wonderful books and song!  We learned a lot about lady bugs too!

eat4   Snacks!   eat3

Next the teachers and staff showed us how to make yummy lady bug treats using Nilla Wafers, red frosting, brown M&M’s (for the spots) and licorice for the legs!  Each bug needs (2) Nilla Wafers stacked on top (and the legs are in-between)… Henry’s friend gobbled his bug down in no time!

eat2 Froot loops!  eat


Henry made a rainbow snack using one graham cracker… then we added some marshmallow spread on the graham cracker.  Next he topped the cracker with the froot loops.  It was hard to fit all of the colors on, but it turned out pretty cute!  Henry doesn’t have much of a sweet-tooth so he didn’t eat his snacks; Maybe his parents munched on these cute treats?

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Getting’ the bugs out…

Henry watches the lady bug activity in the classroom!

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Henry and his friend Matthew listen and watch…  Fun facts we learned today: Lady bugs are small insects.  They have six legs.  They have small spots on their wing covers.  They have a head with antennae.  The antennae help lady bugs sense touch, vibrations (sound), smell and taste.  Lady bugs eat aphids.

We had a great time today — what a great way to bring families into the learning environment!


Family Day at School

Henry’s school here in Las Vegas is wonderful!  Once a month they provide parents the opportunity to come into the classroom for “Family Day”.  We drive Henry in for the 10 AM start, participate in a number of thoughtfully planned out activities, then take Henry home around 11:00 AM.

It is a great way to mingle with the other parents, talk to the teachers and aides, and have involvement in Henry’s school life!  Henry still doesn’t tell us every detail as to what is going on in school — so this is great for us!


We can talk more about activities, his friends, and expand on our conversations with Henry thanks to “Family Day”!  It works both ways because the teachers and aides get the connection and communication as well.  Connecting = Success!


Here is a look at Science Day!

ice2 ice3 ice


There were many neat stations to visit!  We made a rainbow with a huge coffee filter, markers and ice to show how the ice melts and the colors blend.  Colors blend to make new colors, and ice goes from solid to liquid!  It’s magic!


3     Truly fascinating!     2

There were scales to see how much various items weighed.  The balance scale showed which item was heavier or lighter.  Of course we made predictions before we measured!

scienceYet another station was all about the fabulous world of fossils and rocks, another station WAS ALL ABOUT HEALTH!  (I used to be a middle school health teacher in WNY)!  This station above was set up to show which items float and sink!  Let’s make a prediction– then try it out!

Stay tuned for the next post on Family Day!  We had some “creepy and colorful” stories and snacks!  Excellent job to the staff of Garehime Elementary School’s Pre-K program!