A Wee Announcement

A little breaking news Read more

Hello, mamas!

For a little more than five years now, we’ve had the enormous pleasure of running this website — a project that we dreamed up as a brand new mom (Ash) and an expecting mom (Christy). We set out to create a space that we wanted for ourselves as parents—a place to share information and to swap tips and to build a community. That you all showed up to be a part of it was incredibly gratifying, and we’ve never stopped being thrilled about that, or proud of our site.  

Now, after much thought and discussion, we’ve made the decision to stop posting new stories on this site. (We could bore you with our list of reasons, but it’s simpler just to say that it feels like it’s time.) However, we aren’t closing down Wee Wander: You can still follow along on our adventures and get tips on raising kids in Philly on Wee’s Insta and Facebook channels. And you’ll also be able to see the last five years’ worth of stories, reviews, interviews, lists and expert advice on the site, which isn’t going anywhere immediately.

For now, though, we just wanted to say thanks to y’all for reading and for emailing and for sending us news and tips and ideas. (We’ll still be reachable via social.) And here’s wishing everyone a joyful 2019 full of fun, with minimal meltdowns and/or diaper blowouts and/or lost mittens.

Love and hugs,
Ashley and Christy, Wee Wander co-founders and editors

 

New! Zhang Sah Pre-K

Yay, another new Pre-K! Read more

zhang sah pre-K

You guys know that we love any news of new day cares, new preschools, new school programs — there’s just no saturation point as far as we’re concerned for such things. So we were intrigued to hear about a new pre-K program coming from the same folks who run Zhang Sah Martial Arts popular classes and camps in Queen Village and Mount Airy.

Both pre-Ks are just launching this month, and the curriculum is that of a normal, thoughtful pre-K (that is, foreign languages, literacy, science, math, creative arts, music, movement and social development) but with the additional bonus of martial arts. The martial arts bit includes Tae Kwon Do, Judo, and Aikido techniques, which are awesome for teaching little ones gross motor skills, mental focus, discipline, respect, mindfulness and all sorts of other real-world skills. (Plus: Lots of fun for the kids!)

Both locations are offering flexible schedules (both full and part-time) and flexible pricing options, and at both spots, the pre-K is designed for 3- to 5-year-olds. The school day ends at 3/3:30 p.m., but for parents who need school to go until the end of the work day, there are Zhang Sah’s long-running after-school camps that keep kids active, engaged and happy until 6 p.m.

Interested? You can check out the site, or call or fill out the online form to set up a time to check the place out.

Wee One-On-One: Ana Laura Gelman

A Philly supermom shares her favorite stuff Read more

ana laura philadelphia

The mama: Ana Laura Gelman, mom to Sebastian, 5, and Camila, 2, is a Queen Villager by way of Brooklyn. (And before that? She went to college in Boston, and before that, she grew up in the Kennett Square/Chadds Ford area … and before that, she was living in Buenos Aires, where she was born. Her family immigrated to the U.S. when she was four!) Still, after a decade here, she considers herself a “happy Philadelphian.” Ana, who’s a psychotherapist, works with the lovely Perri Shaw Borish at Perri’s practice, where they focus on mental health issues in general, but specialize in maternal mental health, including perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, perinatal grief and loss, transition to parenthood, and infertility. “It is an exciting time to work in maternal mental health because there’s been a lot of visibility and normalizing of the great challenges facing new parents,” Ana says.  “There is still a lot of work to do in terms of de-stigmatizing, connecting people to resources, and educating professionals, but this field is full of hope, resilience, and inspiration.”

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Favorite kids’ classes: The programming at the Charles Santore Library is wonderful. Our son loves the chess club, and both of our kids have loved story time with Ms. Lindsay. Sometimes the best things in life are free!

Parents’ class: Anything at Mama’s Wellness Joint.

Date night: We love going to weddings! Other than that … Dimitri’s in Queen Village has always been our go-to. My faves are the grilled octopus, branzino, and baba.   

Hidden gem: I don’t know how hidden this is, but Cheu Noodle Bar’s brisket ramen (it has matzo ball, kimchi, and a nice kick) has forever changed my life.

Rainy day go-to: South Bowl for happy hour is awesome.  Kid-friendly and adult-friendly food. It’s also great to meet up with other friends with kids there.  My husband works very hard to hide his embarrassment of my horrendous bowling skills.

Holiday tradition: Sang Kee Peking Duck House on Christmas

Outing or event you avoid: We plan on waiting until our kids are a little older for Eagles games.

Outing or event you love: Phillies and Flyers games.  The Pitruco pizza truck on Thursdays at Palumbo Park is a warm-weather and fall favorite. Also, we’ve always loved the Headhouse farmer’s market.

Favorite spot to exercise: Philadelphia Sports Club, Society Hill. They have babysitting and an outdoor pool, and the pricing is very reasonable.

Favorite app for parents, or favorite app for kids: Calm. Meditation is the most important self-care piece of my life. I use the app with my family.

Favorite spa treatment (or some treat): I love Sanctuary on 2nd. They’re well- priced, talented, and do a heck of a prenatal massage.

Family-friendly restaurant: Pizzeria Stella.

Favorite cultural activity or event in Philly or ‘burbs: We’re big Franklin Institute fans. My son’s school also attends Sound All Around (Philadelphia Orchestra). I got a chance to chaperone once and loved it. The kids’ programs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are also remarkable.

 Favorite children’s book right now: I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love, by Nancy Tillman. Also, the Marvel 5-minute stories have really grown on me.

 Favorite outdoorsy thing to do with kids: Longwood Gardens & Wissahickon hikes.

Trick for getting everyone out the door in the morning: Oy, this one is tough. I’d say sticking to a routine and not changing things up. Also, when I don’t hit snooze and get up before my kids, things go much more smoothly.

Best piece of advice you’ve gotten about parenting: I get a whole lot of parenting advice because my mom is a family therapist who specializes in parenting … but maybe my favorite piece of her advice is to shower them with love and affection, listen to them, be in the moment with them, and also set limits and be consistent with boundaries.

Any mom’s groups you love? I’d say the informal group of amazing mamas I know in my neighborhood. I treasure these women because we’ve got each other’s backs on so many levels and in so many ways … and we also have a great time when we go out.

Favorite parent hack: This is for first time parents- when you have a new baby and someone calls and asks if you need anything— always say yes. Yes, hold the baby while I nap. Yes, we could use some more groceries. Yes, you can do a load of laundry for me. And yes, you have to wash your hands before you hold the baby.  The people who love you are happy to help, so let them!

Favorite toy or kid entertainment in your house right now: We are all pretty Lego-obsessed in Casa Gelman. I think all of the years of putting IKEA furniture together in my 20s was just training me for this.

Toy or book you’d like to lose forever: Anything where you can hear Elmo’s voice.  Sorry, Elmo.

Hardest part of raising kids here: The weather.

Best part of raising kids here: The sense of community in Queen Village is amazing.

 

Spotlight: Dance Classes For Kids

Jazz! Chinese Classical Dance! Hip Hop! There’s some form of dance for everyone at South Philly’s Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers. Read more

Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers

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There’s a pretty decent chance that you guys have heard about Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers before: The renowned Philly-based contemporary dance company has performed all over the city — and the country, and the world. (The Inky once called them the “pinnacle of Philadelphia’s outstanding dance community.”)

Anyway! What you might not know is that Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers offers youth dance classes for children ages 5 to 15 — and the classes range from jazz to Chinese classical dance to ballet to hip hop. (Not your average lineup!) The spring session begins on January 7 (and it runs through June 8), and the first class is free for new students. All levels of dancers are welcome — no dance experience is necessary for any of the children.

The kids are grouped by age into class: Children from 5 to 7 can take ballet; children from 8 to 11 can take hip hop and kids 7 to 11 can take Chinese classical dance; and children from 11 to 15 can take jazz. (See the schedule below.) In addition to teaching the fundamentals of each style of dance, every class also infuses elements of Chi Awareness Practice, Kun-Yang Lin’s approach to dance, which focuses on breath, awareness and mindfulness. (You can see how this can benefit a kid even off the dance floor.)

Sounds cool, yes? You can read more about it here — the descriptions of each dance class (and their teachers) are awesome, and you can register here, as well! Another cool aspect of these classes is that you can register for the entire season if you wish ($231), or purchase a 10- or 5-class card ($120 and $65, respectively), or even just pay for a single drop-in ($14).

New! GiveBack Workshops

A “high-impact, low-commitment” way to do some good this coming year … with your kids! Read more

GiveBack Workshops, Philadelphia, volunteering

I think lots of us parents are pretty much always on the lookout for ways to teach our children about empathy and giving of themselves, to want to engage with the community in a way that’s helpful and meaningful. So I was really excited to hear about a new workshop series the National Liberty Museum is launching in January: Their GiveBack Workshops allow families (of all ages!) to volunteer for a few hours on a Saturday and work together on a “make-and-donate” activity designed by that month’s partner organization. The charities are awesome — benefiting everyone from shoeless people in Uganda to the SPCA to local seniors to troops overseas — and the concept is simple: Register, show up, and help someone.

So, for instance, on 1/12, families can register to volunteer to work at the museum with Enchanted Makeovers, an organization that nurtures women and children living in homeless shelters. The project will be creating “hero capes” for children in these shelters to let them know they can be their own superhero. (They’ll use an an easy-to-follow design template, provided by Enchanted Makeovers, which allows families to get as creative as they like by decorating their capes with felt cut-outs.) In February, the project will be via a charity called Sole Hope, which creates shoes for those suffering from jigger infestations in the east African nation of Uganda. (Jiggers are a parasite that usually affects the feet and can be fatal.) Families will create shoes made from old denim using patterns and instructions presented in a kit, and the creations will be shipped to tailors, where they’ll be finished off.

You can see why I love this idea: These workshops, as museum’s communications coordinator noted to me, are high impact and low commitment, which is perfect for a busy family with little kids. A few hours volunteering can make a huge difference in someone’s life, and also open up a chance to have conversations with our children that might not otherwise happen, right?

Anyway! Here are more details: Pre-registration is recommended for each GiveBack Workshop. The cost is $20 and up for non-members depending on how many people participate, and $15 for families who are Museum Members. (You can also subscribe to the whole season — five Saturday workshops — for $90.) (Oh! And museum admission is included.) You can read about all the workshops — and register — on the site.

 

Wee Bits: The Warby Parker of Strollers, Peak Baby Shark, Holiday Family Fun and a Good Plane Story For a Change

News, happenings, reads and other tidbits for Philly parents this week Read more

wee bits wee wander

What a lovely idea for helping refugee kids adjust as they start school here in Philly. (Via Generocity.)

Another use for menstrual cups might be … conceiving? (Via Parents.com.)

Of course, this makes me cry, but also: People are good. 

Well this is smart and tragic. (Via WHYY)

Also good? Lego Foundation and Sesame Street, who are pairing up to help refugee children heal from trauma. Via NYT.

Also from Parents: Books for kids about adoption!

Hey, a Wharton guy has developed the Warby Parker of strollers! (And it looks truly cool.) From Fast Co.

This is the uplifting collection of photos we all need right now. From the Atlantic.

I enjoyed this, from the Strategist: If you enjoy this kitchen thing, you might also enjoy this kitchen thing. 

We’ve reached peak baby shark. 

Y’all! Flash sale for Diggerland!! (What a fun Christmas gift, no?)

New idea for a law: The only water elected officials are allowed to drink or bathe with or cook with is from the bodies of water right next to the farms, industrial facilities and oil companies whom they wish to deregulate. (Story from the NYT.)

Guys, there’s a ton of holiday fun for families in Chestnut Hill over the next few weeks. (Santa! A parade! Holiday Garden Railroad! And more!)

More holiday fun: You can make your own snow globe or (paper) stuffed fish at the Fairmount December 26 through December 28 at 11 a.m. at the drop-in Fairmount Waterworks Event, Let It Snow. 

And another thing — this one is a little different than the usual! You can still get tickets for brunch with Santa at Jose Garces’ Olde Bar, and it sounds pretty rad: There’s Santa, waffles, a build-your-own-hot-chocolate bar, a milk-and-cookies station .. and more. It’s this Saturday, December 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and you can get tickets here. ($38 for grown-ups; $25 for kids 12 and under; FREE for kids 2 and under.)