Swimmom’s Weblog

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

i’m up and running June 14, 2008

Hey Ya’ll! (That must be my Texas spirit coming out)

Yeah! I can’t believe my laptop is finally up and running. My laptop is my confidant, my companion and my way to reach out to all you in that craziness we call “motherhood”!!

Sorry I haven’t been around lately. We moved, a whole 2 blocks over, but you’d be surprised how much moving you have to do for a whole 2 blocks! All the packing and unpacking. I seriously feel like I should have loaded up my kids Radio Flyer and walked my stuff down the street! Well, I know that would not have gotten me far, but still, you get my drift!

Anyway, we are moved and settled (for the most part) and I hope you will join me for more posts and more craziness.

The fun starts Monday, hope to see you then!

And oh yeah…Happy Father’s Day!

 

House Hunting And Story Time April 2, 2008

If there is anything more stressful than 2 kids on a full out temper tantrum rage through your house, it is house hunting.

It started out fun and turned stressful.

There is so much to consider other than the size of the house.

Schools and Neighborhoods.

And once you narrow down neighborhoods, you really narrow your choice of available houses. And then of course price, you push the limit to make sure it is a house you won’t grow out of in all of 5 minutes, and sometimes negotiations don’t work out. Maybe in the scheme of things, it’s all a sign.

Maybe this house just wasn’t meant to be, life has a funny way of working itself out and maybe the good house fairy is looking down and watching us.

But maybe not, does the house fairy even exist, probably not.

This is the house we want, in the area we want, in the school district we want.

How hard is it worth pushing?

As you can tell, We are first time home-buyers.

Anyway, other than house hunting, I found a nice inexpensive play date to go on with others or just with your own kids.

Today we went to our local Barnes and Noble 11:00 story time.

It was great. The first time we went George was just 2 and not interested in sitting. We walked into the kids section of the store and he made a b-line for the train table (warning, almost every store has one) and it was over.

Separation was attempted but not successful.

This time, we were at another Barnes and Noble and I steered him in the complete other direction,away from the train table (which was somewhat hidden, so thankfully he didn’t even see it) and straight to the story area.

For the most part, he did a great job listening and taking part in story time.

At the end of story time, she handed out coloring pages and crayons to all the kids including George dropped to the floor and colored. He even spoke with the woman in charge of story time and engaged in questions and comments about the book with her.

He was very good, today I got lucky.

The entire story time lasted about 45 minutes.

And then we went out for a slice of pizza.

A slice of pizza and a salad: $8

Watching your 3 year old’s face lite up at Barnes and Noble story time (and his motor mouth in full gear): Priceless.

(Okay, that was cheesy, but you get my drift.)

 

Dull is not in our vocab! February 1, 2008

Never a dull weekend here!

If you live in the South Jersey/Philadelphia Area here is my top 5 of what’s happening around town.

In no particular order. (though number one is pretty cool!)

1. Celebrate the last football game of the season, by not watching it! Let your kids bogey on down at Shampoo night club in Philadelphia, hosted by Baby loves Disco! The first Sunday of the month for the next four months Shampoo goes child-proof, transforming itself into a disco for hundreds of toddlers, preschoolers and parents to let loose. This afternoon dance party features a DJ blending classic disco tunes from the 70’s and 80′ ! Admission is, as they put it, $10 per walking human! (for more ideas on everything from music, to organic toys and everything in between check out Baby loves disco website. They have a cute video on the right hand side of their screen under video of the week. It’s from You Tube: The Backyardigans v. Fergalicious, it’ll help get you in the mood for a dance celebration!)

3. Does your toddler love cars and trucks as much as mine? I’d recommend a visit to the Philadelphia Car Show from February 2nd -10th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.Tickets are just $10 for adults and kids 13 and over, $6 for kids 7-12 and kids 6 and under get in free. Sunday February 10th is Kids Day at Car show, kids 12 and under are free. The first 500 visitors to the Kidz Zone will receive a free coloring book. The Please Touch Museum and Kid-Fit will be on hand to host a variety of activities such as draw a dream car, license plate rubbing, wind up toy races and tattoos. Not bad!

3. Join the Please Touch Museum for their Junior Jazz Festival for the month of February. They will be presenting performance of Scat Cat’s Junior Jamboree, the story of an alley cat that falls upon a friend who teaches her the the history of Jazz and it’s greats! Kids can also dress up and perform on the jazz club stage. February 2nd and 3rd, they present the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble.The kid-friendly concerts will perform every weekend in February. Check the website for a full schedule.

4. Celebrate Black History month with The Crayola Factory. Make diversity pins and write diversity essays. Also on tab, celebrate Jackson Pollock’s birthday by creating art with Crayola products in Pollock’s well known splatter technique!(lucky the mess doesn’t happen at your place) Save on your admission by bringing a canned good and receiving $1 off 1 admission. Also, this weekend pick a team, any team! Wear your favorite teams jersey and receive $2 off admission! ( I don’t know if the 2 offers can be combined but it’s worth a try!)

5. Don’t let the rain bog you down! Join the Discovery Museum for the Mardi Gras Carnaval!Learn about the history and traditions behind Brazil’s largest party as you create your own masks and join dancers as they lead you in a musical parade throughout the museum. The fun begins Friday, February 1st at 1:00 p.m.

Bonus #6. Don’t forget about the Philadelphia Zoo’s Pay the Weather promotion! I know we have a nice weekend on tap with temps in the high 40’s and sunny. Visit the zoo and pay just $4 per admission for temps in the 40’s! Gotta love it!

 

My Super Sweet 3! January 29, 2008

I am in the midst of a birthday party bonanza.

My little one turns 2 in 2 weeks and counting (yeah!!!) and my son turns 3 in March.

Time couldn’t go by any faster.

I feel like if I close my eyes too long, they will be off to college, getting married and having babies of their own, well, maybe I’m getting carried away, but you get the picture.

So why not celebrate while we can?

If you live in the Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia Area, these birthday places are sure to make your little ones birthday memorable with non stop fun. And not all of them will break the bank (sounds even better)!

1. Jelly Bean Jungle, Marlton, NJ. Whether you opt for a smaller party during normal hours or an inclusive Sunday party where you get the place to yourself, Jelly Bean promises to let the kids roam free and burn off that birthday cake. All you have to do is show up, bring the cake and tons of energy!

2. Discovery Museum, Cherry Hill, NJ. Various party packages include one hour of the party room plus 1 1/2 hour of hands on fun. Also includes a host, colorful place settings and a special gift for the birthday child. Add on a little extra fun with special crafts hosted by the Discovery Museum staff and Deluxe discovery party bags.

3. The Pop Shop, Collingswood, NJ. The pop shop not only has great food, but great parties for kids. Dazzle your little one and their guests with the Pop Shop party or Ice Cream social! For the older kids, add a little Karaoke in the mix. I can’t wait to throw an Ice Cream Social Party for my ice cream lovin’ son. They also give all guests a coupon good for one free cone for a later visit!

4. Oceans-n-Motion, Mt. Laurel NJ. Perfect of an ocean theme.Oceans ‘n Motion indoor play center hosts weekday and weekend parties of 20 children or less and party options to fit almost every budget. Parties include 30 minutes of theme related activities including , dress-up, singing, dancing and games!

5. International Sports Center, Cherry Hill, NJ and Mt Laurel, NJ. While the International Sports Center caters to children of all ages, you are bound to find something fun to do. Choose from the Fun Zone or Roo’s Giant Slide, for children 10 and under, or Roo’s play place for children 6 and under. Aside from fun, parties come complete with tokens, face painting, popcorn, party bags, invitations and paper goods. All you have to do is bring the cake.

6. Pump it up/Bounce U. These inflatable play places specialize in parties and promise tons of safe and clean fun. They both offer weekends or weekday parties complete with supervised playtime, decorations, and party supplies! (Both feature various locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania)

7. The Funplex, Mt. Laurel, NJ. What better place to hold your child’s birthday party than the place with enough activities to keep your kids and this guests completely entertained (and drained at the end of the night). Complete with unlimited choice of foam frenzy or mini golf, unlimited bumpers cars or free fall, pizza and ice cream cake. All you have to do it show up! (My kind of party!)

8. Enchanted Dreams, Haddofield, NJ. Let your child’s imagination flourish with a princess party at Enchanted Dreams. They host weekday or weekend parties complete with dress up, beverages, pizza, and crafts. You can also enhance your party with the visit form a Character, Elegant tea party, Glamor party package or Red Carpet! Aside from birthday parties, they also hold Princess Camp and Special Events. This months special event is Belle’s Book of Love (may be a great idea for a valentine’s event for you child), your child can join Belle for crafts, snacks, music and dance! (I found out about this place from a friend and she said they hold cute parties)

9. Kix and Giggles, Philadelphia, Pa. I’m sure your child is destined from a couple kick and giggles here ! (ha-ha). Fill all your child’s party needs with all day play passes, cake, pizza of hot dogs, decorations,invitations and balloons. Sounds to me like a one stop party shop!

Of course you don’t have to leave your home or break the bank to throw a great party. Remember my New Years blog, there are plenty of fun things to do to spice up your child’s party besides a pinata and pin the tale on the donkey (how old school!)! Family Fun Magazine has some great ideas.

1. Let the kids create their own party hats. Using simple supplies such as construction paper, glue and decorations, this would be a great cute birthday craft.

2. Handprint Aprons. This is a cute craft and a great party favor. All you need is plain aprons, paint, paper plates and a fabric marker. (Get your child/children to make one and this may also be a cute gift for mom, dad or the grandparents.)

3. Make your own pizzas. Make your own dough or use the pre-made crusts! Use bowls and topping to create a toppings bar. Provide some traditional toppings and some creative toppings and the let child’s inner-chef emerge. This may be a bit messy, but definitely memorable!

4. After seeing the make your own pizzas, I thought you could also do this with cupcakes and let the kids decorate their own cupcakes. Make the cupcakes in advance, add coloring to the icing and provide toppings such as sprinkles and candies. You may want to do this instead of a cake.

Don’t feel like birthday’s have to be big and flashy to be fun and memorable! The best parties I had as a kid was a couple kids over, running around in the backyard and great homemade cake (box cake, but homemade!)!

 

It’s not just Friday, it’s “FUN” Friday! January 25, 2008

What is fun to do this weekend you ask?

Hopefully you’ve come to the right place.

Here are five fun things to do this weekend in the South Jersey/Philadelphia Area(in no particular order).

1. Did you say fun and free? you gotta believe it what to better F’s to combine. Join others with some free fun this Saturday at the Fire and Ice Festival in Mount Holly, NJ (just 20 minutes or so over the Ben Franklin Bridge). The events include Breakfast in Narnia with the Ice Queen at The Robin’s Nest Restaurant, the Philadelphia Zoo’s Zoo on Wheels, dog sled demonstrations, Fire engine rides, and exhibit from the Garden State Discovery Museum, an ice carving competition and plenty more. Festivities begin at 10:00 am. Click here for more information and directions .

2. Is your child a budding green thumb? Longwood Gardens want to show them how with their Kids Pot-a-Plant Activity designed to encourage appreciation of plants. Kids learn an appreciation of nature by potting their own plant to take home and nurture. This program is recommended for children age 3-7 and is free with admission (kids 4 and under free, 5-22 $6). It runs Tues and Saturday from January 26th to March 25th.

3. Join the Garden State Discovery Museum in their Irish Festival celebrations. Kick up your heels with the award-winning dancers and musicians from The Next Generation Traditional Irish American Dancers and Music and make your own stain glass window. Festivities begin at 1:00 p.m. Regular admission applies.

4. Saturday at the Please Touch Museum join New Jersey native and award winning children’s music composer Yosi for performances at 11:oo am, 1:00 and 3:00p.m. (My son loves his fun lyrics!) Regular Museum Admission applies!

5. You want to go out for breakfast but you can’t get your kids out of their PJ’s? No worries at the Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ! Every Saturday morning from 7:30 to 10:30am kids wear PJ’s (not sweats, PJ’s matching top and bottom or nightgown) and their breakfast is free (doesn’t include beverages and must be accompanied by a paying adult). Sounds good to me!!!!!

 

Fun Friday January 18, 2008

As promised, here are the top 5 family friendly things to do if you live in the Philadelphia/South Jersey Area, in no particular order.

That is of course besides all the things listed on the page in the right hand corner of my screen)

1. Join the Academy of Natural Science for their Animal Heroes Weekend Saturday January 19th through Monday January 21st from 11:00am to 3:30pm. Meet some of the Academy’s animals Heroes and rarely seen Academy specimens. See the live animal shows at 11:00 and 2:30 and make an animal hero craft to take home. Regular admission applies, children 3-12-$8, children 13 and above, including adults $10.

2. Introduce your kids to the theater with Mr. Malcolm and his story time friends performance of the Brother’s Grimm, The Frog Prince. The Theater Troupe specializes their performances to suite younger audiences and their shorter attention span. The performance will be held at the Sketch Players Club in Woodbury New Jersey. Show times are 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00 and the cost is $6. (ages 2-9)

3. Saturday, January 19th, join the Garden State Discovery Museum in celebrating Harriet Tubman. Learn about her journeys through the Underground Railroad and become inspired by her sacrifices, faith and courage. Performance begins at 1:00pm. Regular admission applies.

4. The Please Touch Museum will be holding performances of North Wind based on the novel Back of the North Wind by George Nobel. The interactive show is enhanced with puppets, theatrical lighting and magic, to tell the tale of the Diamond, who befriends the North Wind. Shows at 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00. Regular Admission applies. (ages 2-10)

5. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Join the museum in 2 programs geared towards your preschooler (ages 3-5) on Sunday January 20th. Tours for Tots Animal Adventure: Join with you child for fun including movement, play and hands-on activities geared toward preschoolers and their parents,tour starts at 11:30am and 1:30pm. And Early Bird Read and Look: Caps for Sale: Join your preschooler and enjoy picture books and craft projects presented in the Museum’s galleries.

Don’t forget about Martin Luther King day, check out yesterday’s post for events the Franklin Institute and the National Constitution Center will be holding throughout the weekend.

Now, for the tip of the week! (hopefully it’s a tip, I didn’t know about this, anyway, here goes it…….)

Visiting the City, have family or friends visiting and planning to hit all the hot spots.

Two words: City Pass.

Visit 6 attractions for just $49 for adults and $34 for kids (3-12). Participating attractions are the Franklin Institute, Adventure Aquarium, Philadelphia Zoo, National Constitution Center, The Academy of Natural Science and The Independence Seaport Museum. It’s valid for 9 days from date of purchase.

Whatever you do, where ever you go, have a great weekend!

 

Fun Friday January 11, 2008

I’m starting a new tradition on my blog called Fun Friday! Check in on Fridays and I’ll clue you in to what is going on around the town (South Jersey/ Philadelphia area) for the weekend.

My goal is to have 5 fun and exciting things to do for the weekend.

And considering it’s right around the corner I’d better hop-to-hop-sing!

1. Breakfast at Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia, Pa. They have great, great (I can’t emphasize great enough) French toast, blueberry Pancakes and omelets at The Dutch Eating Place. I believe with a $10 purchase you can even get your parking validated for the Parkway Corporation at 12th and Filbert to pay just $2! Or to make it extra fun if you live in the area take the train, the stations are in walking distance from the Reading Terminal!

2. Adventure Aquarium, Camden, NJ. Join the Aquarium for their Annual Deep Freeze celebration. Among many of the evens for kids, attend live penguin and seal feeding, a moon bounce and ice sculpting demonstrations. Guests can receive giveaways throughout the day and from 11:30-3:30 receive Turkey Ice Cream samples! Yum! If you bring a new, unused coat with the tags still on for Operation Warm, receive 50% off up to 2 admission tickets.

3. Crayola Factory, Easton, PA. Kids can celebrate winter (and hopefully bring on some snow, just a bit) by creating their own special snowflake. Admission is free for kids under the age of 2 and ages 3-64 is $9.50 per person.

4. Discovery Museum, Cherry Hill, NJ. Don’t forget to join in on the celebration at the discovery museum and Groove to the Music! Saturday only, musicologist Jose Obando will teach us the history behind the sounds and sensations that make up Salsa Music. Kids 11 months and under are free. Kids 12 months and over and adults are $9.95 per person.

5. Longwood Gardens, Kenett Square, Pa. Enjoy the Indoor Children’s Garden. This is a safe space where children can explore and discover the joys of being in the garden. Features include a Bamboo maze, tree covered seating area and three animal sculptures shooting water from above.

Here is a 6th just for a bonus, I think this sounded like fun,

6. The Flour Pot, Ambler, Pa Let your kids make a mess in someone’s else’s kitchen, and decorate super cute cookies in the process! Every Saturday for $12 The Flour Pot cookie boutique lets kids of all ages (I think I may have as much fun as my kids) come and decorate cookies in their kitchen. (Hopefully you get to take home some adorable cookies with it.) Reservation required! While you’re at it, check out their website for those adorable cookies! Valentines Day is right around the corner and they have super cute Valentine’s designs!

All these sounds like fun! There are also some awesome free things you can do like walk to a local train station and watch the trains go by, my son loves that one, go to a park, and if you can avoid the temptation to by one, go to Petsmart or your local pet store and look at the adorable dogs, cats and fish.

I am sure that whatever you choose, you kids will be happy just being with you.

Join me next Friday for more fun things to do!