Swimmom’s Weblog

Diary of a Stay-at-home Mom, motherhood and beyond

Leap into the Weekend! February 29, 2008

Let’s LEAP into the weekend (get it, it’s leap day…never mind) Anyway, here is your guide to my picks of what’s fun in the area this weekend

1. Bounce around! Bounce U is having a Open Bounce on Saturday March 1st from 7:30-9:30pm. The admission is $7.95 for the first child and $5.95 for each sibling. This is a great place to play and this would also be a great time to check out their facilities to see if you are interested in having a them host your next party.

2. Happy Birthday Button! Join the Adventure Aquarium in celebrating the birthday of one of it’s beloved hippos, Button. Includes appearances by mascots, participate in children’s crafts and activities, like pin the tail on the hippo, live shows, photo ops with a look alike, children’s give-a-ways and much more. You can also watch Button feast on it’s first birthday cake (my son would love that)! This is just the beginning of Button’s Birthday Bash, it continues through the weekend of 3/16 and includes Breakfast with the Hippos, a special appearance by Dora the Explorer and free ice cream and cake! Check their website for more information!

3. Now this just sounds to cute to pass up. Join the Milkboy Coffee located in Bryn Mawr in the Milk and Cookies Show in with Sally’s Music in their Acoustic Cafe on Saturday March 1st. This special event happens every last Saturday of the month and features one full hour of singing, dancing, drumming and playing while growing and learning. The show begins at 10:30am and the end of the show is celebrated with FREE cookies for everyone (nice)! Admission is $10 per family. Milk and Cookies shows specialize in fun entertainment for the entire family! (That’s my kinda party)

4. Join the Longwood Gardens for Tropical Family Day with a concert by children’s entertainers Dinorock! Also featuring a live reptile show, crafts and fun potting activity for kids. The event runs from 11:00am to 3:00pm! Regular admission requires!

5. Johnson’s farm in Medford, NJ is great for apple pickin’, pumpkin pickin’, apple pies, ice cream and everything in between. Kick off their 2008 season this weekend with events for the entire family including free hayrides, free hot dogs, food samples, half-price ice cream, and free admission to to the Animal Farm and the Discovery Barnyard (definitely worth the visit). And my sister-in-law would agree, they have the BEST cider donuts!!!

And just to note, I told this to my sister, who is expecting her first child in mid May. One Fit Mamma offers in indoor Stroller Fitness Workout Class at the The Montgomeryville Mall in Lansdale, Pa. This class meets at the upper level near Ruby Tuesdays, Saturdays from 9:ooam to 10:00am. The first class is free (doesn’t hurt to give it a try).This class is geared towards moms with babies and toddlers in strollers and prenatal moms are welcome. This is a great way to meet moms in your area!!! Check out the One Fit Mamma website because they also hold classes at Bally Total Fitness in Willow Grove, the Oxford Valley Mall, and Athlete’s Advantage in Conschohoken. Whether you attend these classes or mommy and me classes, these classes are a great way to meet other moms, share experiences and I think, most important, find others who can relate to what you are experiencing as a new mom of one or 5!

Have a great weekend!

Don’t forget, I love comments and would love to hear about other places you enjoy whether it’s mommy and me classes, or just places to go!!

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To favor or not To Favor February 27, 2008

I am really over doing this birthday party thing.

I usually err on the side of being cheap (well, more like inexpensive, I usually like to get the most for my buck) but since my husband gave me the go ahead on this Bounce U party, it’s been full speed ahead (at least according to my standards).

My latest dilemma has been whether or not to do party favors.

I wasn’t sure of two things.

Did I want to spend the money for it considering I am already paying for everyone to play at this play place?

And I have a large age range, how was I going to get something for everyone?

Well, of course, I decided, why not? and I went with the favors.

I went with a local person (so if you live in Philly or South Jersey great, but I think she also ships out for everyone else).

I heard about her through the grapevine. My friend used her for favors for one of her daughters parties (she ordered these super cute Frisbees), and we have gone to parties where her favors have been given. I always hear very positive things. She is Mindys Magic Touch. And hopefully we will score another magic touch with this one.

The favors come hand decorated and affordable. I think they make a nice touch for your party guest and they also come wrapped and “bowed” ready to give. I had trouble deciding but after consulting my husband (who has no idea whatsoever) I went with the Roundabouts. I figure the little kids can put snacks in them and the older kids can up them on their desk or dresser and use them for trinkets, like erasers, spare change, whatever.

Anyway, check out her website. She really has come cute stuff at great prices. She has anything from Frisbees to decorated pillow cases (I hear those are adorable).

Well, since I went with the favors, unfortunately I couldn’t go with the amazing Thomas the Train cake I saw at Diabartolo bakery, a great Collingswood bakery that makes amazing cakes. If you live in the area and need a cake for any occasion, I would definitely recommend them.

They are like the “Ace of Cakes” of South Jersey.

I ordered my sister’s baby shower cake there, which is this weekend. They make a great cake in the shape of a baby carriage. (It’s pictured in the second row. We ordered the Spongebob Cake for his birthday last year.)

When I went in to order the cake, I saw this amazing Thomas the Train cake. It’s 3-D and shaped like Thomas. You really can’t beat it. Anyway, as far as the cake is concerned we went with the a Wegmans cake. Mainly because they too make great adorable tasting cakes (great icing and super moist cake), but I need a full sheet and it’s a little more affordable, especially since I went with the favors. But they really do an exceptional job at their bakery. Besides, I think I need an easy cake to cut since it is cute served by the people at Bounce U. I’ll save that Thomas the Train cake for next year, I’ll sure he’ll still be a train enthusiast (knock on wood, it may be onto something else).

Anyway, a baby shower this weekend, George’s birthday the next, and my sister, husband and mother-in-law are also in the month of March.

And we are looking for a new house.

Things couldn’t get more hectic, fun but hectic.

 

Smirks and Giggles February 25, 2008

Filed under: motherhood,parenting,Uncategorized — swimmom @ 9:28 pm
Tags: , ,

My one year old instigates her almost 3 year old brother like I’ve never seen.

Whatever George is doing, he does it bigger, faster and at times badder when he see her laughing at him. She laughs, then he laughs, the she laughs harder pushing his mind to beyond good fun and into mischief.

Whether it is chasing the cat, slamming the door shut or crashing his trains and cars, he finally has an audience. And his shows are reoccurring and unpredictable, happening at the drop of any little look, smirk or giggle my daughter sends his way.

Today it was laughing at the cat, who takes it in stride. They open the closet door and sit and she laughs at him, he laughs at her and they laugh at each other and some how “kitty-cat” (as we so affectionately call him) is caught in the middle. When the cat runs, they follow, George thinks the cat wants to play and Sophia thinks she can run just as fast pushing her wide legged stride to a quick stammer.

Our old, gentle and very friendly cat has taken to hiding in the closet most of the day to escape the toddler storm that often comes his way. He knows exactly when my son has “left the premises” at nap time or bedtime because he comes out of hiding and rolls around, stretches and reclaims his reign in the middle of the living room floor.

Some days I know I should break up their hysterical collaboration but some days I feel like I want to secretly join in. They can’t talk to each other (well, he talks to her, she babbles back), yet they are already developing that secret language between siblings. She doesn’t even have to say anything and he knows what she wants. He knows when she wants to play, how to make her stop crying and how to make her laugh hysterically.

Their secret language is clear and to the point. At his tender age of 3, he knows when to comfort her and play with her and unbelievably she knows the same. When he is crying (usually because he needs a time out) she pats him on the back. And when he is playing alone, she joins in and laughs at his comical acts. She screams, he screams and they both laugh.

Of course, there are the days when he wants nothing to do with her.

But for the most part, lately, they are a pair that can’t be stopped.

It is different seeing this connection as an outsider. As a mother, I want your kids to be close and to understand that bloodlines are tighter than anything. I have a sister, yet as a sister I didn’t get to see the relationship grow and develop. I didn’t get to see the secret language develop and the connection that was constantly being formed because I was in it. And when you are in it the experience is different.

I understand and appreciate it more.

A sister or brother is always a sister or brother.

I know their relationship won’t always be close and will take rocky turns but I hope they can care for each other and watch out for each other.

That is one of the reasons I wanted two kids, so they’d always have each other.

I know I’ll have to deal with the fights sooner or later, but for now, I’ll take the laughing and the instigating.

I’ll take the looks that send messages and the screams that get each other going.

I’ll take the smirks and the giggles.

 

Tickles and Giggles February 23, 2008

Filed under: motherhood,parenting — swimmom @ 9:35 pm
Tags: ,

Many things in parenting are challenging.

Potty-training, knowing when to discipline and how, and just wondering if you are raising your children the right way on a, well, daily basis.

Some things in parenting come easy.

Among some of them, watching your children grow, learn, and develop into their own being.

My favorite part is watching my children play, laugh and just be kids.

Today was one of those days.

We had a great day on a play date with some kids and their parents from my son’s school at The Garden State Discovery Museum. It’s great seeing them run around, interact with each other, as much as 3 year olds do, and just plain have a good time. Even my one year old got in on the action.

The conversation between the parents was easy and unforced. And I think that lead to an overall great time.

After the Discovery Museum, some of us went out to lunch at The Pop Shop. They have a great family-friendly menu with likable solutions for your picky toddler, adult friendly selections for you and even a menu for your infant. The Pop Shop, literally, has something for everyone.

But the laughing didn’t stop there.

After nap, dinner and a bath, my son wanted to be tackled and tickled.

Rolling around the floor, laughing.

His laugh exudes innocence.

It’s that laugh that comes from deep inside, deep inside the reigns of childhood.

The laugh that builds memories and lets you know your kids are happy and healthy, and maybe, just maybe, you are doing something right.

That laugh is full of love and heart and reminds you what matters and what life is all about.

 

Snow, Snow go away…at least for the weekend! February 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — swimmom @ 11:10 am

Don’t let the snow keep you in, besides, by the end of the day, it may all be gone.

Here are some great things to get you out and about this weekend.

1.This weather calls for Comfort Food and you can get your fair sampling at the Reading Terminals Souper Bowl and International Comfort Food Festival Saturday February 23rd from 10:00am. to 4:00pm. You can learn about and sample comfort foods from different cultures such as Afro-American, Italian, Middle Eastern, Indo-Pakistani and Jewish. A Souper Bowl among the terminal’s merchants will determine who makes the best soup. Along with music and eating (what a great combination!), entertain the kids by participating in children’s activities. Even better, this event is free (makes paying for parking not so bad).

2.Join the Discovery Museum in celebrating diversity through it’s Korean Kraze Saturday February 23rd. Welcome the South Jersey Korean Dance Group as they lead you through the beautiful world of dance and music with traditional costumes and percussion music. Learn about the the beautiful, detailed art of fan making and make your own colorful piece of art.

3.Having a lazy Saturday and you can’t get the kids out of their PJ’s? Relax mom and try the neighborhood Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ. Join them every Saturday for their Family Friendly Slumber Party. From 7:30am to 10:30am, every pajama clad kid, accompanied by a paying adult, receives free breakfast. Kids can also listen to music from the 1950’s vintage jukebox, play cards and color.

4.Join the Philadelphia Museum of Art for it’s Family Party, Sunday February 24th (also a pay-what-you-wish admission day). Check out the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the museum and participate in family friendly events to keep it entertaining for your children. Ballet Folklorico de Mexico will perform traditional dances with costumes and music. Frida puppets will be on parade in the Great Stair Hall. Or become inspired by Frida Kahlo, draw in the galleries and create your own masterpiece. Checkout their website for a list of the days events.

Frida Kahlo Self-Portrait with

Thom Necklace and Hummingbird.

1940 Oil on Canvas

5. Is your little one a budding Harry Connick Jr. , Duke Ellington or Louis Armstrong! Join The Please Touch Museum for the last weekend of its Junior Jazz Festival. Introduce your kids to the wonderful world of jazz through live music dance and theater performances. Kids can dress up and pretend to perform music on the stage, make their own instruments and create their own music sheets. Performing this weekend Tony Miceli and His Super Jazz Jam Session.

 

No more Mess! February 20, 2008

Filed under: gift ideas,parenting,toddlers — swimmom @ 4:21 pm
Tags: ,

Sometimes I feel like the kids have taken over, and the mess follows me out of the house and right in to the car.

My son won’t go anywhere without Thomas the Train and a few famous cars in tow (thanks Disney).

I dreed the day we can’t find them, so I keep back-ups in arms reach.

Wouldn’t it be great to organize your car, as much as it can be organized with kids, and keep a few extra toys and books in the car just in case, without having to worry that they will slide under your brake or gas pedal as you drive down a steep hill (not that that has happened to me, but almost).

I found these cute and inexpensive, yes let me repeat that, inexpensive, car organizers at Lillian Vernon.

What parent doesn’t need a backseat car organizer?

Or is it just me?

Anyway, for just $12 they come in great primary colors for you little boys and pastel colors perfect you your little girl and, even better, they can be personalized.

 

Tread on this! February 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — swimmom @ 6:24 pm

My mom is always telling me to buy good shoes for my kids, especially when they are first walkers, not that good means expensive but usually good shoes for infants aren’t cheap, especially when you consider they grow out of them every 3 months or so.

So, I am sure she wasn’t happy, though she didn’t comment, when I came to visit and my little girl had on a cute pair of little Nikes that were pink and white. They were cute!

My daughters first try in the new sneakers, even though they were okay for my son, proved my mom right. She had trouble moving her feet in those thick soled sneakers.

So I gave in.

I had never been a fan of Stride Rite, which I am sure have good quality shoes, but I remember Shortly after my son was walking we went to our local Stride Rite and the sales person shoved his feet in a shoe that was a size too small and too narrow, and convinced me they were the right size. I know I should have spoken up, but it seemed okay. I took him home and every time I out those shoes on he cried and couldn’t walk. So I gave them away and decided never to go there again.

So, you could imagine my excitement when I learned Robeez was coming out with a slightly thicker soled shoes, great for the outdoors, called Robeez Tredz.

All I can say about them is two words: Love ’em!

They are soft like the original Robeez but the soles are a slightly thicker and very flexible (very important) rubber soles, perfect for new walkers. I bought them at our local Olly shoes a couple days after they came out, immediately put them on my daughter and took her outside to run (at her age it’s more like,walk with a quick stagger) after her brother, and she managed greatly. Much easier than the previous shoes. (Moms and Dads, they are also easy to get on, and they stay on.)

I am sure my mom is thinking, “I told you so”.

Even though I refuse to listen at first, it seems, Mother knows best, or at least Robeez knows best.

I definitely recommend them (and so does my mom).