The mama: Ashley Albrecht — mom to Teddy, 6, and Annie, 3 — is the owner/operator (plus the event planner/creative developement/idea maven) for Albrecht Events, a 12-year-old firm that just launched the cool-sounding Wellbydesign summit, a two-day wellness experience in April at Woodloch Resort nestled in the Pocono mountains. The retreat (which you can read more about here) — which will cover everything from kombucha making to meditation to floor pilates, mental toughness, paddle board yoga, and more — is aimed at other entrepreneurs and women interested in a quick dose of wellness, Ashley says. (That’s you, too, Wee mamas!) “As a busy working mom, it is difficult to get away for more than a few days, and as an event planner, it’s difficult to have a regular routine with events and networking in the evenings and on weekends. So we’re packing the schedule with every a busy working person needs to fill their WELL.” When she’s not working (or retreating to the lovely Woodloch), Ashley bops around Philly and its burbs with the kids — and here the Lansdale native offers up a bunch of lesser-known fun spots.
Neighborhood: Lansdale. Both my husband and I grew up in Lansdale. We are surrounded by a large local family and a network of friends and neighbors from childhood. Our parents live within minutes and are a constant support when it comes to babysitting and weeknight meals. We are mostly likely here to stay.
Favorite local playground or park: Sister Cities Park. Although it’s a train ride away, there is nothing like letting your little ones run free and barefoot in the city. We visited this summer before going to the International Children’s Festival at the Annenberg Center. It was the best day! This charming rock trail and watering hole really feels like a city escape.
Kid’s haircut: BA Salon. Part of our large local family, Beth Ann Kraynak is opening up her new Salon in Lansdale this April. We’ve loved visiting her salon located at the back of North Penn Art. Right around the corner and Beth Ann’s demeanor is great with kids. No tears!
Favorite kid-friendly restaurant: Olce Pizza. We’ve held birthday parties here and always enjoy a weekend meal. It’s best in the summer: Olce’s outdoor picnic and café tables provide the perfect place for kids to run from tree to tree while parents enjoy their pizza. This dinner always gives us a chance to talk to each other as a couple. The kids love running around and always meet another friend running around, too.
Favorite family event or outing: Train ride to Doylestown with brunch at Genevieve’s, and a trip to Busy Bee Toy Store. We make this a semi-regular Sunday morning activity. My son is a “train guy”. It’s a simple, fun trip for the whole family with a little something we all enjoy.
Kids’ class: Milestones in Music. My son started with Milestones as a baby. It has always been a happy place. We love listening and dancing to the cds at home. Now Milestone friends are in kindergarten together and have a bond from babyhood.
Date night spot: 19 Bella. Tapas, local, family-owned and operated, homemade bread and butter – it’s homey and cozy. I love their eclectic collection of tableware and eating alfresco.
Rainy day go-to: Family time in our basement playroom is our go-to. My son loves playing soccer and hockey with my husband while my daughter jumps on the trampoline or is mommy to me, “Sister”, and her soft Baby Stella.
Favorite fast massage/facial/manicure/treat for you: I usually skip out on these treats and opt for a yoga class instead.
Favorite cultural activity or event: International Children’s Festival at the Annenberg. Last year we saw the best show, Flip Fabrique … and for just $10.00 a person. We topped it off with gelato at Capogiro. I love when I get to mix an activity with my kids and call it “event research”: We even almost booked Flip Fabrique for a holiday party this past winter.
Place to find babysitters: Grandma and Granddad and Oma and Pop
Favorite toy in your house right now: Our collection of huggies. My husband is always coming up with clever scenes with these guys. They can be found sleeping in someone’s bed, reading a book or having breakfast. They’ve come to have personalities of their own and are also used to create obstacle courses in our upstairs hallway.
Item you can’t live without: I turned to Moroccan Mint Honest Tea when I was pregnant the first time and avoiding coffee. I’ve been hooked ever since, and now so is the Albrecht Events team.
Best parenting books or blogs you’ve read: The Conscious Parent, by Dr. Shefali Tsabary. This is a life- changing read and always on my bedside table. When I’ve had a tough moment with the kids, I look to my underlines in the book to reset.
Dad/child activity: Puzzles on the kitchen table
Favorite website or app for parents: Zen Parenting Radio. I like to listening to these podcasts while cleaning bathrooms or folding laundry.
Person/pro you can’t live without: We’re are so lucky to have grandparents nearby. They are lifesavers. I don’t know what we’d do without them.
Exercise class (for you): Caliente Yoga with Ken Bell at Your Yoga Space and Kundalini with Karen Strawhacker at Moyo. Caliente keeps me strong and steady and Kundalini makes me feel alive and invigorated. I discovered Kundalini at the Namas Day conference two years ago. The instructor, Sati Rose, said the class would be transformative, and it was. Both practices have helped me to work through challenging life moments.
One thing you wish Philly had that it doesn’t: An artistic interesting play space (Luckey Climbers) and swings that play music. The Canadians do this right.
My mornings are … hectic, whose aren’t?! Routine and consistency are key. We’ve got our steps and our roles as a couple to keep kids moving through the morning getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, etc. We divide and conquer, and eventually everyone gets out the door.
The most rewarding part of being a parent in Philly is … the exposure to a variety of art and culture. We’ve started a yearly tradition of a Philly hotel stay with a fun city activity to break up the winter months. This year we loved seeing The Nutcracker and enjoyed milkshakes at Max Brenner’s.