Wee One-On-One: Lauren Parker

A South Philly supermom — and owner of Lume Creative Learning Studios — dishes on her favorite stuff Read more

Lume Creative Studios, Lauren Parker

The mama: Y’all might know Lauren Parker as the owner of Lume Creative Learning Studios, the new(ish) South Philly community arts center for kids’ and adult classes, parties, art exhibits, workshops and the like. (And there really is a vast scope of happenings there — the classes alone cover visual arts, movement, music, parenting and more! Running the place is “a very fun juggling act,” she says.) Lauren also lives in South Philly, along with her kids Emalinda, who’s almost four, and Max, who’s 18 months — and though she grew up in North Jerz, she’s been here since 1995. “So … let’s just say that I’ve spent over half my life here so far. And also that I am truly old.” [Ed. note: We all are, Lauren!] Here’s her expert take on all the best Philly has to offer.

Where does your little one attend daycare/preschool/school? I admit it makes me paranoid to put this information on the scary internet but I feel compelled to share. Little Duckies Daycare in South Philly is the absolute BEST! The staff is caring and loving. My kids come home happy and having learned something new every day. It is clean and bright and fun. It’s well-organized. The directors, the teachers and the assistants truly put their hearts into that place, and it shows in every tiny detail. There’s usually a wait-list to get in since it’s small, but I would say it is totally worth the wait.        

Favorite kids’ classes:  I don’t want to toot my own horn here, but … TOOT.  Lume has great kids’ classes!! We have drop-in friendly toddler programs like Free-Range Toddler Art and Songbird Art & Music Jam for kids ages 18 months to 4 years. We also have drop-off programs for the potty-trained set. One great option is LizArt — the kids sing with a local rockstar with a loop pedal, plus they dance, and make music and art. Another popular program I like to highlight is the Itty Bitty Breakdance class, which is exactly as adorable as you think it is. For older kids, we have an after-school art and literacy program with local school pickup. We also have school-aged drop-off classes every afternoon in a variety of visual arts topics. We are most excited for our Friday Rebel Girls: Contemporary Artists drop-off program where kids (of all genders) learn about a rebel of a female artist every week and create art based on their work.

Best way to spend a Saturday afternoon as a family: I like to get out of the city on the weekends, if possible. We like basic seasonal activities like fall pumpkin-picking at None Such Farms in Buckingham, or going to Long Beach Island on the Jersey Shore the summertime. Read more →

Wee Bits: A New Montessori Preschool, Cool New Baby-Proofing Gear, How to Be Happier, and Prince William’s Never-Ending Charm

Reads, news, happenings and other good tidbits for Philly parents Read more

wee bits

Sigh. I do love that Prince William.  Via BBC.

Guys! New preschool alert, here! Philly Montessori, a Queen Village Montessori “micro-school” designed for kids between the ages of 2.5 and 6, will open in September of 2018. (You might remember the founder, Sheila Akhavein, from another Wee story we wrote about her!)  You can read more about the new school here, and connect with Sheila by attending the first informational event on November 11th at Old Pine Community Center at 10 a.m. 

In other school news, this is pretty huge. 

This very short New Yorker piece about the Manhattan episode really got me. “Grandparents Pushing a Stroller, Then Running From Terror, in New York.” 

Parents.com offers up cool new childproofing gear. 

I very much enjoyed the Vulture ranking of all the witches in Harry Potter. (And it made me want to read the books again.)

Ash sent me this anti-aging skincare piece from Into the Gloss, and said, simply, “This is nice.” Agreed — nice perspective, nice, helpful hints! Who doesn’t love a good product round-up?

LOVED this piece from the NYT, which makes a VERY strong case that “happiness is other people“. Could not agree more.

More ideas like this, please: The Constitution Center and the newish Museum of the American Revolution have a new joint ticket. The joint tickets are available at www.amrevmuseum.org and www.constitutioncenter.org — or in person at both museums. The adult joint ticket is $29 (savings of $4.50), youth joint ticket is $19 (savings of $4), and a family pack (2 adults and 2 kids) is $90 (savings of $22).

Visit Philly has some excellent suggestions for what to do in November. 

Speaking of which: Don’t forget that Fitness Alive is still offering open-house-style family swim nights! Next one is this Friday!

Jersey just raised its legal smoking age to 21. (There’s a legal smoking age???) Via Philly Mag.

Parents of kids with allergies: Y’all should know about the food-allergy workshop at Center City Pediatrics happening on November 11. Helpful!

Yum: Wee friend/dietitian/wellness guru Katie Cavuto tells us how to make our own pumpkin puree. 

A Mother’s Life, in Google Searches

My Google history, myself Read more

mom googling

How to stop a nosebleed
How to get blood off carpet
How to get blood off sweater
How to get chocolate off cotton
How to get mustard off denim
How to get pee smell out of grout
How to get armpit smell out of sweater
Diastasis recti
How long til c-section stomach flap goes away
Cost of tummy tuck
Alternate uses for hospital-grade sanitary pads
Best ways to cover gray between colorings
Common rashes for kids
How long do germs live on surfaces
Do I need to brush baby’s gums?
Goopy eye, infant
Clogged duct, breastfeeding
Fixing clogged ducts
Best eye masks
Best eye creams
Cost of Botox
HGTV Urban Oasis sweepstakes
Lays Do Us a Flavor Sweepstakes
If you win money, how much is taxed
How much coffee is too much for nursing moms
Great crock-pot recipes
Simple chicken recipes, not boring
Chicken crock-pot recipes
Best shows on Netflix 2017
How to get baby poop out of clothes

And fin.


Wee One-On-One: Michelle Gillen-Doobrajh

A South Philly supermom (and owner of a fab toy store) shares her favorite stuff Read more

tildie's toy box

The mama: Michelle Gillen-Doobrajh has every kid’s dream job — or at least, every kid’s dream job for her mama: She owns the charming toy store Tildie’s Toy Box in South Philly, along with her husband, Paul. What’s that job entail? “I do whatever needs to be done there: discovering and ordering new toys, cleaning, hiring, promotions, gift-wrapping … you name it, I do it!” In fact, Tildie’s is about to host its second annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day (November 11, 11 a.m.!) — there’ll be the wonderful author/illustrator Greg Pizzoli signing books, as well as a raffle, giveaways, and more fun and surprises. (Also good to know: All throughout the holiday season, the store is offering free gift-wrapping. And Tildie’s always has personal shopping — they’ll pick out presents for you based on the kids’ ages and interestsand a reward system wherein you get $5 off your next purchase for every $100 you spend! FYI!)
    Anyway: Michelle is also a mama to Siena, who’s five, and Amelia, who’s two. So in addition to knowing about all the cool toys and games out there, she’s also got some good ideas about fun things to do around the city with kids. Here’s her take!

Neighborhood: Passyunk Square.

Favorite kids’ classes: We love Music Monkey Jungle! We host one of their lively, entertaining performances at the shop on Mondays at 10:30 a.m. — it’s $10 for a drop-in, half-hour class (the perfect non-committal and affordable option for caregivers). Also, it’s free for babies under 6 months, so it’s a great way to get out of the house with infants.

Best way to spend a Saturday afternoon as a family: I often work on Saturdays, so when I get home, I like to relax with the kids and play a board game or bake cookies. The kids’ favorites are chocolate chip or sprinkle cookies. Since I used to be a pastry cook, I take baking very seriously, but cookies are always an easy, fast and fun project with the kids. And we get to eat cookies.

Date night: Honestly, I’m generally pretty tired at night (I know … I’m lame), so I prefer a “date lunch” if possible. Something like Bing Bing Dim Sum or Cheu Noodle Bar, where it’s casual, where we don’t need a reservation, and where I can actually get to eat my own noodles or soup dumplings. (Did I mention these are also some of our kids’ favorite restaurants?) All that, plus a great cocktail or beer is perfect in my book.

Hidden gem for families: Finding kids’ shoes in a physical store has become quite a challenge, but we love going to Vans where we can all find fun and comfortable shoes. Read more →

Wee Bits: Love Hacks, Halloween Hoopla, Dressing for Family Photos and Einstein’s Secret of Happiness

Reads, news, happenings and other tidbits for Philly parents Read more

Stressed about what to make everyone wear for your fall portrait session? The Mom Edit has some really cool ideas.

Loved this NYT piece about “love hacks” for busy married people. 

I mean, aren’t we all just mad as hell (about everything!?) these days? I’ve been TRYING to channel that anger (at least some of it) into raising a decent human being — the world seems to need as many as possible of those, more than ever. Anyway. This list from the Strategist — 16 Feminist Kids’ Books — seems like a helpful tool for the arsenal.

And speaking of raising good people: 6 Ways We Accidentally Teach Our Boys Rape Culture, via The Good Men Project. Good reminders here.

And speaking of being mad: Christ on a bike! This mold in schools story from Philly.com.

Hey all — there’s an open house at the new preschool (and pre-K), Aspen Grove, in South Philly.

More news! There’s a new (locally owned) Egg & Friends Children’s Boutique that just opened in Bryn Mawr, and the (locally designed) clothes are cuuuuuuuute. 925 W. Lancaster Avenue.

Einstein’s secret to happiness, courtesy of NPR.

I actually think I might want a Target-themed birthday party, too. (Via Select All.)

Well, this is nice. Parents.com reports on a hospital with a NICU that lets moms and dads sleep in the same room as the babies.

Thanks, ScaryMommy, for this list of 5 body rules all kids need to know. 

Halloween happenings galore! First, you should know about the annual South Street Headhouse District’s Pumpkinfest on October 28. There’ll be pumpkin putt-putt, pumpkin pie-eating and jack o’lantern contests, costume contests, trick-or-treating, pumpkin decorating, hay-bale mazes, and a bunch of other good stuff. (Also — a winter coat charity drive!) The night before, on the 27th, there are movies, including It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Another good one: Smith Memorial Playground celebrates Halloween with live music, a “Thriller” dance party, arts and crafts, healthy snacks, the usual Smith playground fun … and more. (Costumes welcomed.) $10 per kid. (Free for members and ACCESS cardholders.) Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Another (and how fun is this!?): This weekend, kids are encouraged to dress as their favorite Revolutionary and head to the new Museum of the American Revolution (“open to a wide range of interpretation”, they say), and get $2 off admission. (And there’s fun Halloween goings on, too — candy and costume parades and education about ye old Halloween traditions.)

Fairmount’s annual party — hosted by the Fairmount Art Center — happens on Sunday the 29th, and includes a costume parade, art projects, music and more. 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Finally .. Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. is the Rittenhouse Row Halloween celebration, wherein a bunch of the stores welcome trick-or-treaters. (Again: Dress those kids up!) The cat sign on display indicates which businesses are participating.



Surviving Cold, Allergy and Hell-Virus Season

Because kids are germ factories: Here’s stuff that will help you get through the misery Read more

cold season with kids

I do some version of this post every year — generally when I am struck down by some miserable cold/sinus infection/bronchitis hell virus — and this year is no exception. (Currently, it’s just a nasty cold going through our household.) But every year, thanks to experience, and friends’ suggestions, pediatrician recommendations, and y’all’s input here on Wee, I find new stuff that makes weathering these illness-laden months a little easier. So here, the annual cold/allergy/flu season survival list.*
*no medicine included here, of course. We’re no doctors : ).

1. The Nose Frida (obviously) and unscented, gentle Boogie Wipes.
I’ve said before that I always thought Boogie Wipes were high-rankers on the list of unnecessary items in the baby aisle. But I was wrong: They’re great on (gross) hardened boogies and grime that attaches itself to little faces, and gentle on over-wiped, chapped noses. I’m a total convert. And speaking of noses …  Read more →