Wee One-On-One: Rachel Baiada

A Philly supermom — and the owner of Shoo Fry! — shares all her favorite stuff Read more

rachel baiada, shoo fry

The mama: You might not know Rachel Baiada (mom to Nicolo, 4, Luna, 2, and Aurora, 7 months), but if you’re lucky, then you know her awesome pountine shops in Fishtown and Rittenhouse, Shoo Fry. Rachel, the co-owner and co-founder of Shoo Fry lives in Springfield, in Delaware County, where she also co-owns Cold Stone Creamery (mmm…) with her husband, Matt. But given the fact that two of her businesses are in Philly, and that she grew up in Delco (and Matt grew up in South Philly), she knows both the city and the ‘burbs backwards and forwards — and she’s got some awesome go-tos and favorites all over the place.

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Where does your little one attend school?  Our oldest, Nicolo, goes to The School in Rose Valley. It’s the most incredible place — built on an old apple orchard with something like nine acres of grounds and woods surrounding them. They really work on teaching and building the whole child as a part of larger community, not just learning your ABCs, so to speak. Nico has learned so much about the world around him and how he relates to it. They have sheep, chickens and their own garden where they grow some of the food used for lunch and daily snacks. Nico has even had weekly woodshop classes where they use real, full-sized tools. It’s a beautiful place to be a kid and to really jump-start that love of learning.

Favorite kids’ classes: We loved the Rhythm Babies music classes when the kids were small. Miss Julie is the sweetest, and the classes are great. After going for a while, the kids start to remember the flow of the class. I always loved when my son would get excited because he knew his favorite part was coming up (the bubbles and the parachute).

Best way to spend a Saturday afternoon as a family: Matt and I love to take the kids to Washington Square. We grab a bagel from Knead, walk around the park, and let the kids chase pigeons and play on the grass. If we’re looking to escape the city for a bit, we hop in the car and head to New Hope or Peddlers Village. Read more →

Wee Spotlight! A Dream Is a Wish: Princess Holiday Concert

Philadelphia Theatre Company’s new holiday show is basically a dream come true for your little princess lover

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princess show philadelphia theatre company

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Got a fan of Elsa in your house? Or Moana? Belle? Sofia? (Hey, who doesn’t?!) Here’s a show you’re not going to want to miss. For one day only — and one show only — you can catch Philadelphia Theatre Company’s A Dream Is a Wish: Princess Holiday Concert, a live concert sing-along featuring nine princesses: Sofia, Cinderella, Elsa, Mulan, Moana, Belle, and more.

While personally, they had me at the whole “sing-along” part, the show’s narrative also sounds sweet: The princesses all work together to teach young Sofia the beauty and benefits of just being herself. Meantime, the concert features 15 movie-musical and holiday songs, so you can expect to belt out some favorites, from “A Dream Is A Wish” to “Jingle Bells” to “Let It Go”.

And if that’s not enough to make your kid’s head explode with excitement, there’s also this: The ticket price includes a post-show princess meet-and-greet reception, complete with photo ops, cookies and cider. The kids — princesses and princes alike — are encouraged to come in costume. Sounds magical, no?

Here, the details:
What: Philadelphia Theatre Company’s  A Dream Is a Wish: Princess Holiday Concert
When: December 17, at 3:15 p.m.
Where: The Suzanne Roberts Theatre
How: The seating is reserved in advance; get your ticket ($35 a person) here. (Best do it soon — as we noted, there’s just one show!) You can also get four-ticket packages at a 10-percent discount.

 

 

Christmas Cards, and Other Things I Feel Bad About

Or: Stuff I should probably be doing, but don’t Read more

christmas guilt

Every year, I think to myself: I should really do Christmas cards this year.

I said it the first year after I graduated from grad school. (“I’m an adult now. I should do Christmas cards.”) I said it the first year I lived in Philly. (“I’ve started a new life here. I should do cards.”) The first year I was married. (“Now I’m really an adult.”) After our first kid. After our first our first house.

Reader, you see where this is going. I have never done a single card. Not one. Not even the Shutterfly or Snapfish ones that basically create themselves from your Instagram pics, or whatever. I don’t really even have a good reason, other than the fact that I am busy and there is laundry to be done and deadlines to be met and children to be minded and Real Housewives to be watched. But we all know that’s a non-excuse because I’m certainly no busier than any other soul in this world. People with more kids and more responsibilities and more TV channels than I manage to send them out every year. Some of my friends actually make their own. (Make them!)

The truth is, I would genuinely like to be a person who sends cards to the people I love. Every year, I fool myself into thinking I really AM that person. Beginning sometime in November, I start imagining myself writing a really charming, voicey holiday letter, full of warmth and wit — the kind we get in droves every season from people who obviously have more self-discipline and planning skills than I have. I tell myself that I could simply find my address book (the one that hasn’t been updated in 10 years?!) and spend a night or two addressing envelopes — hey, maybe I’ll even enclose a photo of our little family. That doesn’t seem so hard. Right? It seems downright cozy! Festive! I can put on a Hallmark holiday movie while I write addresses! All of this, I envision every year. And then I go on with my normal, cardless life.

The truth is, the person I envision myself to be and the growing list of “Things I Should Be Doing But Simply Cannot Seem To Make It Happen” are at odds with each other. Christmas cards are far from the only guilt-inducing item in that file — a file that has grown drastically since I became a parent, I might add. That file includes (but is not limited to):
Flossing my four-year-old’s teeth. I mean. I brush them twice a day (he “helps”), which already feels like something I should get a medal for. Flossing a small, wiggly child’s baby teeth more than thrice a year? Nope.
-Baby books. Sometimes I type notes to myself on a Google doc of things to one day remember to write in a baby book. I have the feeling that those notes — much like the trillions of photos that live on my phone, waiting, always waiting to be printed — will be the “baby book.” This makes me feel like a terrible mother whose children will have no memories to look back on besides messy boxes filled with preschool craft projects and hospital bracelets from when they were born. And so “fill out baby book!” has been on my to-do list for roughly 3 years now.
Dusting the ceiling fans, baseboards or anything out of easy arm’s reach. Please don’t look too closely at anything if you ever come over to my house.
–Polishing silver. What little silver I have — the candlestick holders; my grandmother’s bracelet — looks like its been buried in the backyard for about 9 years. Sometimes when my mom comes to visit, she polishes for me, even though I am 38 years old.
–Making my own tomato sauce. Yes, I know it’s so easy. Yes, I know how much sugar and other crap is in that jarred stuff. I feel guilty about this every time I serve my son pasta, which is often.
Mixing vinegar with essential oils so my house doesn’t smell like we’re dyeing Easter eggs every time I clean. “Get essential oils at Whole Foods” has been on my to-do list almost as long as the note about baby books. At this point, it’s purely aspirational. Frankly, the house is just lucky that it’s getting wiped down at all.
–Washing pillows, flipping mattresses, cleaning mattress pads. We’re supposed to do this every six months, three months and one month, respectively. HAHAHAHA.

I could go on here, but I’m not trying to self-flagellate. Like every other mom in the world, I do manage to do lot of stuff — important stuff — on any given day, including keeping two small children bathed (mostly) and clothed (usually) and fed (sometimes with jarred tomato sauce). Sometimes I feel like Superwoman. Other times, though, if I’m being honest, it embarrasses me that the me I want to be, the me I think I could/should be — the best me — doesn’t line up with reality. And that’s especially true when it comes to something as public as, yes, Christmas cards. Which — let’s be honest — are at least partly about showing people your best you through that warm, witty letter, through that charming family photograph.

This is part of parenting, I guess: Coming to grips with the ego-hit of not being able to even pretend to be more together than you are. And speaking of that: We have a newborn this year. It really would be a good year to touch base with people and send cards. Possibly with a photo of the kids. Maybe I’ll start on that tomorrow …

Wee Spotlight: A  Holiday Parade You Won’t Want to Miss

The annual Parade of Lights is a wonderful Philly tradition (that you haven’t done a million times) Read more

independence seaport museum parade of lights

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I don’t know about y’all, but I love (love!) this city during the holidays. I love the lights everywhere, love the Santa sightings, love the kids’ homemade ornaments, love the special holiday pop-ups, love any reason to drink hot cocoa, love the general festivity of all of the events. As it happens, one event early in December combines literally all of these things: The city’s annual Parade of Lights isn’t just a parade with lights — it’s a floating parade of beautifully lit-up boats cruising down the Delaware. And you can watch the whole thing from a perch on the second floor terrace of the Independence Seaport Museum. It’s a fantastic, slightly offbeat (but beautiful!) way to get in the spirit of the season. (And! The museum offers warm drinks and snacks inside their Holiday Hut.)

The boat parade is in itself reason enough to go, but the Seaport Museum also hosts Santa’s Workshop on the Water, wherein families can make gingerbread boats and snow globes, enjoy some insta-snow in the Citizen Science Lab, take in the display of Silver Ships, shop for handmade ornaments, and — of course — meet Santa. In other words: So much festivity!

The details
What: The Parade of Lights and Santa’s Workshop on the Water
Where: Independence Seaport Museum
When: December 9. Admission to the museum — and Santa’s Workshop — begins at 11 a.m. and runs to 6 p.m. The Parade of Lights starts at 5:30 p.m.
Price: Admission to the museum ($16 for adults; $12 for kids, college students, military (active and retired) and seniors. (Museum members get free admission, but the museum appreciates registration in advance.)
Registration: HERE!

parade of lights

Wee Bits: Bulletproof Backpacks, Martha Graham Cracker for Kids, Non-Toy Gift Ideas, and the One Place Fried Chicken Should Never Be

The best reads, happenings, news and other tidbits for Philly parents’ mid-week catch-up Read more

wee bits late fall

Important PSA: Here’s how to make your name plural this holiday season. (Hint: It does NOT involve an apostrophe. Like, ever.) Via Slate.

Another important PSA: The great Martha Graham Cracker is doing a holiday show for kids! It’s a tribute to Dr. Seuss, and there’s no way it won’t be amazing. December 9. Details here.

I could not love this list of non-toy gift ideas more.  I’m going to do some of these! Read more →

The 10 Best Delivery Options in Philly

Our favorite stuff to order Read more

best delivery in Philadelphia

It’s beginning to look a lot like delivery season out there. (LOL, just kidding, we order takeout constantly, year round.) But in truth, these cold, blustery late-autumn nights are the nights we are most grateful to have some hot, yummy dinner (that we didn’t have to cook) on the table. Thanks to GrubHub, UberEats and Caviar, we can get pretty much whatever we want whenever we want to these days, but some of our very foods don’t stand up well to the travel, while others seem like they’re MADE to be biked across town and eaten in front of the TV. Here, a solid list of the latter — our favorite delivery foods in Philly.

Dan Dan Noodles
What to order: Um, the Dan Dan noodles. Also amazing: wontons and/or dumplings in chili oil, cold sesame noodles, bok choi with garlic.
Order from: Caviar, UberEats Read more →