Gear Up: Late Fall and Winter Must-Haves

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cold weather faves

Once again, it’s quite suddenly cold outside, and once again, the onset of late fall/early winter has caught me (and my poor, un-mittened, hatless children) unprepared. Also, I meant to run this post two weeks ago,  before this moment was upon us, but — well, here we are. Shivering, and ready to discuss the best cold-weather kid stuff to have on hand now, as the weather gets chilly, cold-and-flu season kicks up and we all want to get cozy. It’s a list we’ve accumulated over about 6 years of parenting, asking other moms, and reading your comments, and there’s so many good gift ideas here, too.  

Zutano booties
This one will become a total obsession if you have kids who aren’t yet walking: They’re cozy fleece; they cover the ankles; they have snaps so that they stay on in spite of tiny prying fingers; they’re super washable; they come in the cutest colors and patterns; they fit newborns on up through 18-month-olds. And hey, if your kid’s out of the bootie years, you might still check out the Zutano site — they also make mittens on a string and super-warm hats!

No-slip socks
Warm little feet, without the danger of your kid biting it on your hardwoods. Pals, in the link above, are a local company. (And so cute!) There’s also thicker slipper-style socks, like these and these. And OMG, these. Old Navy has good ones, too — and they’re a deal.

The Zojirushi Coffee Canister
Okay, this is for you, not them, and it’s probably overkill. (But it is so great!)

All manner of nose care.
Specifically, the Nose Frida for tiny clogged noses;Boogie Wipes for gross, crusty, sensitive winter noses (truly, it sounds insanely unnecessary, but trust: They work better than just tissues — they break up crusted boogies and they make it easier to wipe noses gently but effectively); and saline drops for stuffiness.

A hats that stays on
Time for my bi-annual shoutout to REI for their little hats, which I LOVE. (They come in a variety of weights, and a bunch of them have strong velcro so that they don’t end up on the side of the road. Also, squeee!) Another popular fave of several moms I know: The adorable, stylish, multi-season slouch beanie from Childhoods Clothing.  

California Baby Everyday Lotion (Extra Sensitive)
It’s dry-skin season and this stuff is amazing. It’s good for all sensitivities (read: free of gluten, soy, oat, dairy, nuts — save for some coconut — and made with cold-pressed vegan oils and a blend of pesticide-free oils.) Works well for your dry hands, too, and it doesn’t have that weird waxy smell so many “healthy” lotions have. I’ve also grown to be a mega-fan of Mustela products, including the emoillient balm baby cream for “dry to eczema-prone” skin. There’s barely a scent at all, and it’s thick but utterly ungreasy. Another favorite of several friends: Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Nighttime Balm. (Anybody else have problems with winter eczema? I’m contantly looking for the best non-steroid treatment that is effective, and more than one pal swears by this stuff.) Lastly, of course, is the old go-to of coconut oil: A tiny bit on the face and lips is ultra-moisturizing and simple as can be, and I dab a little around chapped noses, too. (I even use it around my eyes once the wind gets cold.) Aquaphor does the job well, too.

Leg warmers
Nothing cuter, cozier or easier than a baby in a onesie (or a dress, or leggings) with leg warmers. I like the BabyLegs brand.

Baby/toddler sunglasses.
The morning sun is glorious these days (the single upside of Daylight Savings), and also extra blinding. Baby Banz is great (the strap is helpful for little ones) and Babiators (which also have the option of a band) — if they get lost or broken in the first year, Babiators will replace them! We like it keep it under $10 a pair — Rivbos for kids are cheap, and they’re so flexible that they’re basically unbreakable.

A warm-mist humidifier
I think general wisdom has that cool-mist humidifer are better for kids because there’s no danger of burns, but I’ve always liked the warm one for this time of year: 1) It’s runny nose/congestion season, and the humidifier helps and 2) We don’t turn on our heat until we absolutely have to, and it makes the room a lot cozier and warmer. It is not, of course, hot to the touch, but we are still quite careful to keep it out of reach. I’ll admit that I can’t even tell you what brand we have, but the model that several people have raved over is Crane.

Winter weight sleep sacks
If you’re still in sleep-sack stage, then Halo makes really great warm cotton ones, and also cozy micro-fleece versions. Also good: Aden and Anais cozy muslin sleep sacks.

Lands End Squall Jacket
This is a tip from a friend and mom of two: “They’re long in back, so it keeps your butt warmer, and has little cuffs for your thumbs, which also helps keep the snow out. They’re lightweight and not puffy, which is helpful.”  

 

Photos courtesy Amazon.com and REI.com.

Wee Bits: A New Preschool, Meat Taxes, Birthday Baskets, Wizarding Weekend, and The Best Year In Music

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

wee wander bits

Another tragic, maddening, horrifying nightmare of a shooting. Our hearts break for the innocent lives lost, ruined. This Atlantic article about addressing the gun violence was true when it was published in 2012, and it’s true now. “There are complex, hand-wringing-worthy problems in our social life: deficits and debts and climate change. Gun violence, and the work of eliminating gun massacres in schools and movie houses and the like, is not one of them. Gun control works on gun violence as surely as antibiotics do on bacterial infections.”  (And related? This piece from Inquirer: A new research paper from Stanford University Hospital has found that more stringent gun laws on the state level can help prevent devastating gun-related injuries and deaths.)

New (Spanish-immersion!) preschool alert!

NPR asks: Was 1993 the greatest year in music?

At first, the headline of this piece from Streets Blog seemed a little extra to me, but the story was really intriguing.

I thought it was a joke … but no! Good idea, I guess? From Parents.com.

Upcoming! Wild Wizarding Weekend at Academy of Natural Sciences.

Hm. Meat tax.(Via the Cut.)

So often, I find celebrity mom stuff to be very boring/irritating. But some of these observations from famous people about motherhood were funny or sweet, so I’m sharing this. (Also from the Cut.)

This wonderful, lovely idea from Lulu’s Casita — birthday baskets for children — just about brought me to tears. What an awesome new program.

Yikes, boxed cake-mix recall. (Via Parents.com.)

Interesting article from EdSurge (which I found, I think, via The Notebook) about how to teach kids how to learn.

On Tuesday, November 13, Whittle School & Studios — a “global school” that will educate 2,500 kids from pre-K through 12th grade, including boarding students — is hosting a reception in Philadelphia from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Union League.You can learn about the school and the the approach Whittle takes to education (including language immersion, cross-cultural education and off-campus opportunities in cities around the world).

Everyone — this is fun.The lovely EGG Boutique in Bryn Mawr and Never Give Up Training a fitness studio in Manayunk are pairing up for a Mommy + Me Bootcamp at the boutique. Never Give Up owner Ali Jackson (who’s pre- and post-natal trained) will lead six classes for parents and babies (aged 0-1) every Wednesday at 9 a.m. from November 14-December 17. (You can check out some of the moves attendees can expect to do with their babies in this video!) Parents can purchase 3 classes for $55 or 6 classes for $95, and attendees get 20 percent off full-priced purchases while they’re in the store for the class.

New! The Philadelphia Hebrew Public Charter School

A new option for kindergartners and first graders opens this fall Read more

Philadelphia Hebrew Public Charter School East Falls

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Guys! This coming fall (2019), a new public charter will open its doors — and we’re getting the word out now, because they’re currently accepting applications. Welcome, Philadelphia Hebrew Public Charter School! The school will offer an academically rigorous curriculum that includes instruction in the Hebrew language and will teach kids of all backgrounds to become global citizens.

The school, located in East Falls, will launch its first year with just kindergartners and first graders, and grow to be a K-8 institution by 2026. The mission, in addition to creating “an environment of academic excellence,” is to help students develop social skills and values, to teach children what it means to be a global citizen (that is, to be intellectually curious, globally aware, civically engaged, and skilled in cross-cultural communication), to emphasize diversity and inclusion, and, as mentioned, to instruct the children daily in Modern Hebrew. Also, it’s well worth noting that because it’s a public charter, it’s tuition-free.

Curious? Stop by the open house this Monday, November 12, from 4 to 6 p.m. — just click here to RSVP! You can also read more here, and apply here. Or, if you have questions, shoot a note to info@philadelphiahebrewpublic.org or call 267-225-1211.

Wee Bits: Day-Off Camps for Tuesday, The Best Family Cars, Magical Removable Wallpaper, and What To Do With All That Candy

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

wee bits late fall

If you are devastated by the heartbreak and horror in Pittsburgh (who’s not?!), and also, the horror and heartbreak in Louisville, and the pipe bombs … well, there is this ray of goodness to cling to. Not because it fixes what’s broken, but because we need to see the goodness, too. (Via NYT.)

Guys — next weekend is the Love Your Park Fall Service Day, and you can sign up to help clean, plant, mulch, garden and do any number of things at any number of Philly parks, from Starr Garden to Rittenhouse Square to Belmont Plateau and way, way more. A great way to contribute without a massive amount of commitment.

Also: The election is, of course, this Tuesday. Phield House is offering vacation camp for kids out of school — as are several of your other favorite vacation-day camp spots (Philly Art Center, the Schuylkill Center, the Arden, and the Handwork Studio, for example) and also, interestingly, Fairmount Water Works. 

Parents.com gives us a list of the best cars for car seats. 

Twenty-seven school-shooting survivors bear their scars, and bear witness. Powerful piece from NY Mag.

Oh, how I love the Strategist’s roundups. My fave this week? The 14 best removable wallpapers. So good!

From The Notebook: More than half of PA districts have no teachers of color. 

Hey, this sounds cool: On Saturday, November 3, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., you can hit up the Philadelphia Acton Children’s Business Fair at the First Unitarian Church at 21st and Chestnut. It’s a showcase of 16 businesses that are run by kids ages 5 to 12, and they’ll be selling a variety of products. (Paintings! Baked goods! Slime! Pet toys! Lip balm!) Sounds intriguing, no? (More details here!)

Brilliant: A dentist-sponsored candy buy-back program! (via Philly.com.)

Dare to dream: A short list of dreamy family-perfect trips from the NYT. 

Wee Obsessions: Cherry Street Pier

Go for the seesaws, stay for the beer Read more

cherry street pier philadelphia

Really, there’s only one thing you need to know about this new waterfront destination: There are over-sized, illuminated seesaws. They are right there, when you first walk in, and your kids (and you!) will love them.

After 1,000 turns, keep walking, because there’s plenty more to explore at this just-opened park on the Delaware River. There are working artists, interactive art installations, food trucks, a bar and a ton of programming, like craft workshops, antique markets and a pop-up play event on November 4th. (They also have a holiday market, where you can get a Christmas tree, all sorts of delish-smelling greenery and holiday decorations.)

And if none of that sounds like a nice way to spend a few hours with the fam? Well, you should go just to see how much the DRWC has improved this once-desolate waterfront. It’s amazing to see how many people are hanging on Race Street Pier (just next door to Cherry Street Pier) and walking around Penn’s Landing—and their landmark project (this big park) hasn’t even broken ground yet.

 

Spotlight: Land Of Sweets

An awesome family event to start the holiday season Read more

rock school land of sweets philadelphia nutcracker

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It’s hard to believe that we’re already talking about kicking off the holiday season (wasn’t it the first day of school like yesterday?), but here we are. It’s nearly November, and we’ve got the scoop on a really special outing that will help everyone transition from fall to winter in the most festive way possible: On Sunday, November 11, the Rock School for Dance Education is hosting an event they’re calling the Land of Sweets — a party that’s themed around their well-known annual Nutcracker 1776 performance. There’ll be sweets, treats and lots to do, from crown-making to sword-decorating to gingerbread house-building … and more.

The highlight of the afternoon, though, promises to be the live dance performances, which will feature the ethereal Sugar Plum Fairy as she engages in her beautiful battle with General Mouse Howe, leader of the redcoat mice. Kids (and their adults) have the opportunity to watch rising dance stars from around the world dressed in gorgeous costumes, and then actually meet the General, Ben Franklin and some of the other dancers who are featured in this very special, Philly-centric rendition of The Nutcracker.

There are two opportunities to participate in the Land of Sweets fetes on November 11 — there’s a 1 p.m. start time and then another at 3 p.m. In both cases, the party promises to be a lovely way to introduce the children to dance, or to the The Nutcracker, or to The Rock School, which one of the region’s premiere institutions for dance training. And at very least, the event sounds like a fun, festive afternoon for the whole family, no!? And I should mention: There’s FREE PARKING in the Rock School lot at 1226 Broad Street.

ALSO! Through November 9, Wee readers can get a special pricing deal: Wee readers get an extra $20 off every purchase. Just email Rick Clark at clarkr@therockschool.org to take advantage of the offer, which is valid through Nov. 09. (They’re also offering a 50 percent discount for veterans and active U.S. military personnel.) You can read more about the parties here, and buy your tickets here.