Dear People Everywhere: Please Stop Inspiring Me With Your Quotes

Especially you, parents Read more

“Strength does not come from physical capacity.
It comes from an indomitable will.” — Gandhi

This is the quote that was staring me in the face as I attempted to deadlift 90 pounds. It graces the wall of my gym, but was actually put there by a juice company that operates inside. A juice company. My trainer pushed me through my last exhausting set, at the end of an already grueling workout, after I had rushed to get my kids to school and was anticipating rushing out after so I could get to work just a little late instead of very late. My point: People, there could not have been a more apropos time for some “you go, girl!” 

And yet all this quote did was make me want to heave that barbell right through the juice company’s frosted glass window.

I didn’t immediately understand why this made me red-face-emoji mad, but it definitely had to do with the fact that by the time I read that quote, despite that it was only nine in the morning, I had already been bombarded with plenty of “inspiration” that day. There were memes on my Instagram and Facebook feeds; a “dance like nobody’s watching” in an email signature; and there was something about how “moms rule” on a coffee mug. Read more →

Wee One-On-One: Krista Yutzy-Burkey

A Fishtown supermama (and the owner of PlayArts) shares her favorite stuff Read more

playarts fishtown wee one on one

The mama: There’s a pretty good chance you recognize Krista Yutzy-Burkey as the busy person running around the (beautiful) Fishtown play space, PlayArts, which launched last summer and hasn’t seemed to have a slow day since. Krista taught music in the public charter system for 16 years, and found herself interested specifically in early childhood music education about five years ago, with the birth of her son, Milo. In fact, PlayArts started as PlayMusic, Krista says, “but it took some time to find the right formula to make a viable business plan.” Today, the place offers all sorts of programming (music, yes, but also dance, art, playschool, pop-ups, parties and more) as well as a super-popular open-play space beloved by members and drop-in fams alike. Krista, meantime, does everything from the class-planning to the teacher-hiring to the toilet-cleaning (see? busy!) … but her favorite part, she says, is “meeting fantastic area kids and families.”

Are you a Philly native? No, I grew up on a farm in Nebraska, but I’ve lived in Philly (and within 5 blocks of PlayArts) for 17 years.

Where does your little one attend daycare/preschool/school? Milo attends the Nature Preschool at the Schuylkill Center three mornings per week. This fall he will start kindergarten at Adaire.

Favorite kids’ classes: I’m fortunate to have a really talented team of teachers at PlayArts, so I’m pretty proud of all of our kids classes, but our Open Sensory Play class is the bee’s knees. Our art teachers (Kara and Julia) curate the whole experience around a theme and it’s just about the loveliest, most joyful time you can spend with a toddler. We’ve had so many organizations and educators stop in to observe it, and it continues to grow in popularity. Plus, we’re really dedicated to making it accessible, so we keep it at just a $5 drop-in.

Best way to spend a Saturday afternoon as a family: Honestly, I’m pretty boring on the weekends.  I work so much during the week that I love staying home and snuggling and reading with Milo on the couch. He’s learning to read and can now read to me, so I can’t get enough.  We also love to get out to the Wissahickon for sunny hikes on weekends.

Parents’ class: I haven’t been able to attend any of them yet, but they offer such cool stuff over at The Art Dept on Berks. Before I started PlayArts I used to sew a lot in my free time, and I’m hoping to catch a sewing or textile class there sometime.

Date night: We usually opt to maximize our time by staying in the neighborhood. We have so many places to choose from in Fishtown, but one of our favorite things is to put in our order at Pizzeria Beddia and then hop around for drinks and apps until our pizza is ready at 10. Read more →

Spring Festivals That Are Fun for Families

Six fests you’ll want to hit up with the kids Read more

spring festivals philadelphia families

As you may have noticed, it’s festival season up in here. And now that the weather finally starts to be looking like it’s going to cooperate, we thought it was time for our annual round-up of festivals that your whole family will enjoy. Here, the best family bets for the next month or so. (Okay, so a bunch of them hit on one weekend. You can festival hop!?!)

What: The Chinese Lantern Festival at Franklin Square Park
When: May 9 to June 11
Details: This month marks the return of the Franklin Square month-long festival, which features acrobatic and dance shows, a whole LED display of Chinese lanterns, a beer garden, a 200-foot Chinese dragon … and a bunch more cool stuff (including discounts at nearby restaurants if you show them tickets from the event). It runs 6 to 10 p.m. every weeknight and until 11 p.m. on weekends.

What: Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival
When: May 20, from noon to 5 p.m.
Details: If you live for the big old classic Philly street fair, May is your month, not least because you’ve got this behemoth, which takes over most of Walnut from Broad to Rittenhouse, and 17th and 18th from Sansom to Locust. There’s music, food, drinks, entertainment, shopping, crafts … the whole deal. One tip: Leave the double-wide stroller at home, if you can. It’s usually quite the crowd. Read more →

Wee Bits: The Best Cakes Ever, Measles, Mother’s Day Fun, and The Reason Kids Love Superheroes

Interesting reads, news and other tidbits for Philly parents this week Read more

This story from The Notebook — about the triumph and excitement of a Philly school getting a lone basketball hoop for the kids to play with at recess — is so telling. It’s wonderful for the school and the kids and the people who worked hard to get it, but … a single basketball hoop for the children was such a hard-won victory, and such a “luxury.” Sob, and rage.

Once and for all: Pre-K is really, really beneficial for pretty much all involved. (In case anyone somehow had any lingering doubts.) Via NPR.

Hahaha, Troll Cakes. This is pretty amazing. Read more →

You Are Not Going to Want to Miss this Family Festival

At the Annenberg Center’s Children’s Festival you can see a whole bunch of different performances in one (awesome) place Read more

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You know that anything named “The Children’s Festival” has got to be good.

And this event, put on by the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts from May 18th – 20th, will not disappoint the under (and really, over) 12 set.

The Annenberg Center’s core mission is to connect people to the arts, and for this annual event, it pulls out all the stops to bring amazing artistic performances to Philly kids. There’s a full roster of shows running throughout the three days, including a Latin Grammy-award winning singer/guitar player, a Frozen sing-along, a circus-arts performance (a funny one!), and a Peter Rabbit play, to name a few.

But wait, there’s more! Outside of the Center is PlazaMania, a free (!) all-day party, with pop-up performances, art activities, balloon animals, and more.

Tickets for each performance range from $5-$14, but the smartest thing to do is to get the Festival Pass for Saturday, May 20th, which gets you into three shows and the buzzing outdoor plaza.

There’s a whole bunch of great information about The Children’s Festival here, including details about each performance and links to purchase tickets.

Free Family Outings, the Spring Edition

Inside and outside activities that won’t cost you anything (or won’t cost you much, anyway) Read more

free spring activities

In truth, it’s summer, not spring, that’s really the best season for free outings, if only because you can just slap some swimsuits and sunscreen on ’em, head to the nearest splashpad/sprayground/swimming pool, and call it a day. But nevertheless (and perhaps because the need is greater!), we still have a bunch of favorite no-cost — or very, very low-cost — ways to spend a few happy kid hours this spring, be it gorgeous out, or rainy and wet, or chilly or whatever else this season holds for us.

After a long winter cooped up, there’s nothing like going on little nature “hikes”: We’ve done Fairmount Park (climbing to Belmont Plateau for a little picnic), as well as run around Waterworks and the Azalea Garden, up to Boathouse Row; we’ve done the lovely, green and magical Forbidden Drive in the Wissahickon (pictured above); we’ve done the newish Cynwyd Heritage Trail in Manayunk, which begins/ends at a great little playground. There’s also the wonderful Bartram’s Garden, where you can walk along the river, through the gardens, soak in some nature on a mini-hike or in a picnic, even go boating for free. For a more urban setting, you might consider the awesome Schuylkill River Trail, which is wide, long and has almost shockingly lovely views of the river and the city. (We like to pick it up by the Art Museum, where it’s quite scenic, and “hike” to at least Fitler Square, where you can stop at the dog parks to watch the puppies play, and then veer off to end the hike at the playground. Helps that there are bathrooms along the way.)  Read more →