Wee Endorsement: Winter Fountains

Y’all have to see these beautiful orbs on the Parkway Read more

Y’all: If you haven’t had a chance to see the giant white orbs on the Parkway yet, we suggest that you try to manage a walk by one of them after sundown … and bring the kids. They’re incredibly cool.

The remarkable art installation Winter Fountains — created by artist Jennifer Steinkamp and commissioned by the Association for Public Art in honor of the Parkway’s centennial celebration — is located at four different spots on the Parkway: Aviator Park (in front of the Franklin Institute), the Rodin Museum, Parke Towne Place, and Spring Garden Triangle near Eakins Oval. You don’t have to stand shivering in the cold (or in a line) for a long time to appreciate these creations: You get a big impact even just as a passer-by. (Gotta love public art.)

The white orbs have these vivid, engrossing digital animations projected onto them, inspired by Ben Franklin’s discovery of electricity, and meant to evoke the formations of electricity in clouds. It’s beautiful, and a super-cool experience for a kiddo. (And — see above — just look at the pictures you can take!)

Wee Bits: The Best Kids’ Books of the Year, Cute and Cozy Sweaters, a Great Babysitting Deal, and the Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog

Happenings, news, reads and other useful tidbits for Philly parents Read more

wee bits late fall

Perfect timing: Notable kids’ books of 2017, from the New York Times. 

I want 90 percent of these cozy sweaters. (Via Harper’s Bazaar.)

Yay! It’s time for the annual Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma catalog. over at Deadspin. (Heads up: Salty language and hilarity ahead.)

What a charming piece from Philly.com about babies in Christmas pageants. 

Here are some toys that help kids learn to read and write, via Parents.com.

And speaking of toys: Here’s the fascinating story (also via NYT) behind those little finger monkeys that are evidently the season’s hottest toy.  (“Our lives are at the whim of 5- to 9-year olds,” said Richard Yanofsky’s son Michael, vice president of sales at WowWee. “It’s crazy.”)

This WashPo piece about school lockdowns as the legacy of Newtown made me weep for what we are, and what our kids have to do these days. (Related: One good charity to donate to this season is Sandy Hook Promise.)

Speaking of guns at school, here’s a really excellent post from Wee friend and local writer/publicist/force of nature Paige Wolf, who wrote on her blog about a recent gun incident at a local school, and the very smart way she’s addressing the situation with her kids.

Y’all, Lilypad in South Philly has paired up with Sitter Select to offer super-affordable babysitting this Saturday. 

Thanks, Visit Philly, for some good places to eat on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. 

I really loved this story about the young rapper from Maryland and the Florida retiree who got to be friends playing Words With Friends. From the BBC.

NPR tells us how not to spoil our kids this Christmas.

This Atlantic piece (well, the research around which the piece is built) suggests that spanking is related to violence in relationships down the road. 

Here’s how to make a gingerbread house from scratch, according to the Times magazine. (Which, let’s be honest, is crazy when you can buy those kits from Wegman’s or Trader Joe’s. But whatever.)

11 Magical Philly Toy Stores Your Kid (and You!) Will Love This Season

Want to thrill your little ones? Take them to any of these places. Read more

Who doesn’t remember what it felt like to be a kid walking into a toy store at holiday time? To wander the aisles, to press buttons and fiddle with gadgets, to hug some stuffed animals, to dream about what it’d be like to have these toys at your house? (I can still remember that heady, powdery smell of the Cabbage Patch doll displays. Heaven.) A whole lot about kids’ lives may have changed since then (quoth my own kid: “What’s a Cabbage Patch?”), but the magic of a good toy store has endured. And so here, we’ve rounded up 11 Philly toy stores that make for excellent, wonder-filled wandering for your little ones (and you!) this season, places packed with cool stuff for kids to fiddle with and stuffed animals to hug and toys to dream about. (Ps. Several of these spots have free gift-wrapping. Ask!)

PucciManuli photo by Catt & Co. Photography

The place: PucciManuli, the beloved, extraordinarily picturesque Main Line institution (shown above) known for vast offerings that are all carefully curated, high-quality as a rule, and – in many cases – vaguely nostalgic. (Custom rocking horses! Wooden puzzles! Handmade loveys!) And the place just expanded this year, so now it’s twice as big as before, with even more fun and magic to offer. The place is jaw-dropping.
The ‘hood: Ardmore
Enchanting detail: A kids’ wish-list registry that your child can fill out while wandering the store, and which PucciManuli will keep in house for you. Read more →

Wait, Does This Mean I’m Middle-Aged Now?

Getting older means finding happiness in weird places Read more

In September, about two weeks after I had a baby, I turned 38. I didn’t feel weird about that age, really. (And by “weird about that age”, fine, I’ll just say it: I mean that I didn’t really feel old.) Sure, recovering from a second child was no picnic, and, yes, the silver hairs I can no longer keep up with just by going to the stylist every three or four months drive me nuts. But by and large, I’m fine with 38. And I’ve never been terribly hung up on aging, anyway. Or at least, I never thought I was.

And then we bought a new recycling bin.

For years, we’d had an old, ugly, dilapidated bin with no lid. It smelled exactly like the basement party-room at my college boyfriend’s fraternity house. And because it was so old and rickety, it was hard to carry down to the curb, and — just as annoyingly — it was a terrible eyesore on our front porch. The new one, however, is handsome and sturdy and lidded. My husband even hand-stenciled our address on it so that people won’t be tempted to steal it. Every time I see it, it sparks Marie Kondo-esque joy in me. Read more →

Fringe for Families: A Billion Nights on Earth

This magical play—being brought back for three days only—will be something your kid talks about forever Read more

sponsored post
**

We over here at Wee Wander are big fans of all things FringeArts, from the annual fall festival to Feastival to the awesome Old City venue. But the productions are usually designed to push the boundaries (aka not super family- friendly.)

But this  play, A Billion Nights on Earth, is made for families. (In fact, after a sold-out run during the 2017 Fringe Festival, they decided to bring it back for the holiday season.) It runs December 15th – 17th at FringeArts.

Directed/designed by local notables Thaddeus Phillips and Steven Dufala, A Billion Nights on Earth is about a beloved stuffed animal that goes missing and the out-of-this-world adventure (read: Stranger Things without the creepy stuff) that a father and son go on to find it. The stage design is magical (like a giant pop-up book) and becomes part of the play. It’s an imaginative dive into the realms of parent–child relationships, exploring their varying perspectives on reality.

There are only five showtimes in December; get your tickets now.

photo credit: Johanna Austin

Wee Bits: Raising Sweet Boys, Big-Time Sales To Know About, the Best Eye Creams, and the Ultimate Carpool Karaoke

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

wee bits wee wander

This Time piece about raising sweet boys in an era of angry men is particularly resonant at a moment when it suddenly feels like 60 percent (at least) of prominent men are nightmares.

If you’re not following the lovely writer (and Wee friend and contributor!) Dorothy Robinson at Tankini Files, you’re missing out. This little essay about “wintering with children” made me laugh for roughly five days after I read it; this one, too, actually.

I really, really liked this article about how to deal when kids say certain things (“I hate you!”) or behave in certain ways (complaining monster!). We might already know some of these things, but in the heat of the moment, it’s so easy to forget.

Aw, Prince George wants a police car from Santa. (Also: Prince George knows how to write “police car”!?)

Y’all! Diggerland is having a big sale, starting December 15, and running three days. You can save a decent amount of cash! (According to, well, us, a trip to Diggerland makes an awesome gift!)

Speaking of sales: One of my faves, Yummie, is having a big sale, too. (Honestly, though, I wish it weren’t named “Yummie.”) (And yes, I know that this is Heather’s brand, from the Real Housewives of NY. I love their stuff in spite of this. Okay, and maybe even a little because of this.)

Neat! After receiving a uterus transplant, a mom in Texas was able to give birth. First time that’s ever happened. Via The Cut.

Bad news for four-year-olds everywhere: Glitter is apparently horrible for the planet. (Via Parents.com.)

But on the upside, someone has made edible straws. (Via Fast Company)

I think maybe we all really need this Christmas carpool karaoke — the gift that keeps on giving — right now. (Also, I cannot stop marveling over the seat-belt/cleavage situation happening here.)

The Village Voice ranked the 10 best shows of 2017, and if your Saturday nights are like mine (that is, spent on the couch watching TV with a glass of sour beer), then you might appreciate it.

This is the time of year I start obsessing about eye creams (something about winter light really emphasizes wrinkles, have you noticed?), and then voila! This Goop round-up of excellent eye creams popped up in my FB feed. Handy!