Posts Tagged 'winter'

6 Snow-Day Pick-Me-Ups


DP in a cake? Why the hell not.

I’m back! Sort of. At least a version of me is — making a brief appearance.

It’s the first real snow of the winter.

And you know how I feel about that.

So, in the interest of maintaining my sanity, in true form, I’m turning to lighthearted distractions.

Current pick-me-ups include:

* this Dr. Pepper Oatmeal Cake with Coconut-Pecan Topping via Homesick Texan.

* Norma Kamali’s new line of adorable LBD’s (for every body type!) under $100.

* these kid-crafty DIY Chunky Bead & Button necklaces via Curious Jane + momfilter.

* this adorable Reine Mere Peg + Chalk Board from Basic French.

Reine Mere Peg + Chalk Board

I want. In my kitchen. Now.

* these Chelsea Heel Boots from Marais USA (I’m generally anti-ankle boots, but these I think I could get behind.)

Chelsea Heel Boot

* just knowing there’s the new AB-FAB waiting for me on DVR.

Stay warm! Fingers crossed the Year of the Dragon has some good sh*t in store.

I’m ready.


December 3 – 4: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

Santa at Macy's Herald Square

We have a long list, big guy. Hope you're up for it this year.

Hey, I never said I was working on world peace here, people.


On my humble to-do list:

* Santaland at Macy’s with the kids. Believe it. We’re there. (Via Mommy Poppins, here are more places in NYC to see Santa.)

* I got a good look at my Visa bill this week. Yeah, that sh*t was pretty scary. Better skip Anthro for a while and set my sights on more modest acquisitions, like this:

Paradisa bloom party dress from Ruche

Paradisa bloom party dress from Ruche, a mere $40. $40!

* Next color up on the fall nail polish brigade:


Chanel nail colour in Paradoxal. Bring it, baby.

* Ready to stockpile the salted caramel squares at Bklyn Larder. They freaking rule.

salted caramel square from Bklyn Larder

One more, please.

Happy weekend!


Register Now! Awesome Winter Weekends with Curious Jane!

Curious Jane Winter Field Trips

Come have fun with the CJ community!

Hey, Brooklyn mamas of daughters!

Looking for fun ways to keep your adventurous girl busy in the city this winter? Of course you are!

Well, Magnolia attended an amazing summer camp this year I was so happy with that I contacted the woman who founded it about doing some freelance work for her — and the Curious Jane Winter Field Trip Series is the collaborative end result. Great trips around the city, all girls, all fun, all winter!

Come sign up! From flying on a trapeze to cooking to building something cool, here’s a brief description of what we’ve got lined up (go to Curious Jane for complete deets):

* Curious Jane Takes on The Sketchbook Project in Carroll Gardens — Have an art book published!
Sunday, December 11

* Learn to Fly at Trapeze School New York in Manhattan
Sunday, January 22

* Build Something Cool at Makeville Woodworking Studios in Gowanus
Sunday, February 12

* Whip Up Something Tasty at The Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg
Sunday, March 11

* Travel to See Your Finished Sketchbook + Sample Sweet Treats from Momofuku Milk Bar Brooklyn in Williamsburg
Sunday, April 22

For full details, and to learn about Curious Jane Weekend Workshops, too, (at the CJ work space, and very fun!), hop on over to the CJ site.

For more on the camp and its founder, Samantha Razook Murphy, read my interview with her….

Hope to see your girls (with a friend or sibling) there this winter!



Currently Obsessed with…. My Schuler & Sons Boots from Anthropologie

Brass Tacks Boots

Brass Tacks Boots / Schuler & Sons / Currently Out of Stock at Anthro / Wah.

You know it and so do I — we’re Anthro-obsessed.

So I was super-psyched to find these boots at 50% OFF the sale price (!) at the store on Black Friday. Apparently, some online shoppers were loving them, too, ’cause now they’re sold out. Take heart, though — other Schuler & Sons styles can still be found (although not all of them are on sale.) Keep your eyes peeled, though — prices could plummet the closer we get to Christmas. Here’s a cute pair:

Claret Bow Boots

Claret Bow Boots / Schuler & Sons / Anthropologie / $238 / Yay!

These boots + purple tights + my Moth sweater dress (below — I have it in espresso) + OPI’s “You Don’t Know Jacques” = my fall-into-winter uniform.


Moth Rendition Dress

opi+you+don't+know+jacques nail color

OPI / You Don't Know Jacques nail color

This look is helping me feel it — at least a teeny bit — for fall. Although I’m already dreaming of summer vacation…. < Big sigh. >

Other obsessions:

New French Classics from Food & Wine

State Prints from One Canoe Two

Dining at Buvette


Recipe of the Week: Pork Shoulder Ragu from Dinner: A Love Story

DALS pork shoulder ragu

We still haven’t rounded the corner with spring yet — is more snow coming? please, God, no — which means we’ll definitely be making this Pork Ragu with Pappardelle from Dinner: A Love Story at least one more time before temps turn warmer. It’s easy (hello, braising), delicious, and was a hit with everyone.

A few notes from our making of the dish:

* We’d never cooked pork shoulder before and were perplexed by the not at all unattractive but rather large layer of fat present on one side of the meat. You might be able to buy the pork roast trimmed, or trim it yourself, but I’m sure the fat added flavor. We left it on and then removed the excess fat once the meat was cooked and it was time to pull it apart with two forks, per the recipe — that was simple, as it’s falling-apart tender.

* Since M. is not a fan of tomato sauce, I set aside some meat for her at that stage, before adding it back to the pot with all of the saucy goodness. She was a satisfied customer and ate happily — her buttered pasta in one bowl and meat in the other — without complaint. J., who loves tomato sauce and asked for extra with his meat, was a happy camper, too.

* DALS recommends serving this with a salad with some sweetness to it to balance the pork. We did — greens with pear and blue cheese — and it did make for a great pairing.

* The fact that you braise the meat for 3 – 4 hours, with little effort required on the part of the cook, makes this recipe highly appealing for busy parents. Great for entertaining, too, as DALS notes. Also, it made the house smell really good — that, plus advance sampling of the meat by the kids before we sat down to eat, meant they were nicely primed to go after the food with gusto (definitely not always the case.)

What recipes are getting your family through the last weeks of winter? We’re all ears!


Last Week’s Recipe: Spicy Veggie Burritos

Cute Humidifiers for Kids

It’s cold and flu season, which means everyone has a cough. Actually — knock wood — no one has a cough right this very minute, but for a while there we were all passing around a very unpleasant hack. It was a persistent little bugger. Went on for weeks.

It’s obviously no fun having a cough keep you up at night, but it’s even worse when it’s your kid. Having a humidifier on really seems to help our children — a lot. It’s the difference between up every couple of hours and getting a full night’s sleep. Our now-six-year-old model is past its prime, and it’s a drag having to shuttle it back and forth from Jasper‘s room to Magnolia‘s, depending on who’s sick, so….

Leave it to my wife to find a cute solution!

The kids were irrationally delighted by the arrival of hello kitty and the red dragon, our two new cool mist humidifiers from Crane. (hello kitty glows, acting as a night light, too.) Although we went with the kitty and dragon, the pig is pretty cute, too. (There are also other adorable animals, and a few cool, colorful, mod shapes if you’re adorable-animal-phobic.) Get one now for your kid’s room so you’ll be prepared the next time he develops a cough that sounds like a two-pack-a-day habit.

hello kitty humidifier

dragon humidifier

pig humidifier

Currently Obsessed with… Moving to Austin

Clarksville Austin

Welcome home....

More hurtful winter weather here in New York City, as you know…. Maybe we should move to Austin!

It’s a sometimes-fantasy of mine, and the list of pros is long and appealing:

1. No more harsh winters — we could be outside so much of the year!

2. My #1 fantasy neighborhood is Clarksville, right downtown, near Whole Foods, Z’Tejas, Amy’s Ice Cream, and great shopping. That’s where the adorable house above is — we would have so much space, and a beautiful backyard! And a porch. I really want a porch. All for $650,000 — !!! — which may be high for Austin, but is reasonable compared to New York. It needs some work, but we might actually be able to AFFORD to do it. Also, like a lot of houses I’m seeing in Austin, it looks vacant — maybe we could get a deal?

3. We’d finally be living near our friends Debra and Karen, and could see them all the time.

4. I could bring the kids up right, eating Tex-Mex at least twice a week. Breakfast tacos from Guero’s, mmm….

Guero's Austin

photo: Infinite Tadpole

5. And we could have dinner at El Chile Cafe — outside, where it would be warm, cold drink in hand — anytime we wanted to.

El Chile Cafe y Cantina

flickr photo: El Chile

6. We could go swimming at Barton Springs….

Barton Springs Pool

7. And Deep Eddy.

Deep Eddy Austin

8. We’d be closer to Marfa and Big Bend State Park, both of which I’ve been wanting to visit.

9. We wouldn’t have to fly the family home for a visit every year!

10. We could listen to music and sip margaritas under the pecan trees at The Shady Grove.

The Shady Grove

photo: RoadFood

11. We could go shopping on South Congress.

Shopping on South Congress

12. We could see the stars at night.

All that sounds mighty good right about now.

(Mom: Don’t get too excited. We are probably not moving.)

Other places I like to fantasize about moving to:

Paris — I lived there years ago, but I’m not done with it yet.


San Francisco — What I said for Paris, only I’m not 100 percent certain I’m not done with it.


Maybe Seattle

Places definitely *not* on my list:

New Jersey — sorry, Garden State. I’m just not that into you.

Chicago — If the winters here make me nuts, I’d go MENTAL in Chicago.

Florida — We’re a 2-mom family. Not in a million years. (Austin may not be Brooklyn in terms of tolerance, but it’s big. There’s lots of everybody.)

I could use a diversion today, so what about you? What tops your list of dream “let’s move there!” cities?

Other obsessions:

Cute Kindle Covers

Viva Zapata! Bags

Baked Fontina


Austin without Kids

January 22 – 23: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

photo by Tomi Tapio

Flickr photo by Tomi Tapio

More snow. I may go completely insane.

This morning, I was wishing I had a Missybot (a reference to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” in case you missed it) to stand in for me — take the kids to school, pretend to be friendly to the other parents, run a few errands. I just don’t feel like dealing.

Anyway, bring on the weekend, ’cause this week needs to head out of town.

For your Friday linky pleasure….

I was interested in Brokelyn‘s list of 10 Best Brooklyn Brunch Spots, some of which involve alcohol and seem potentially kid-friendly.

Loving the idea of the completely cool and original sounding Hibernators Ball this weekend at Wave Hill. Kids ages 3 – 9 are invited to wear jammies and bring along a teddy bear to learn all about winter animals that hibernate. They’ll get to make animal masks, play games, hear stories, and dance at the Ball. Kids 5 and over can go on a wintry Discovery Walk to try to spot some of the garden’s residents (bunnies and others) who may be waking up from their long winter’s nap. (The New York Times) Get full event deets at Wave Hill. FREE, except for the Discovery Walk, which in Sunday only.

BoCoCaLand tipped me off to the new soccer store on Atlantic Avenue — there’s a 750-square-foot play area inside and they offer kids’ soccer classes.

I’ve been fantasizing about ditching the snow and moving to Austin, where the living seems pretty good (except for the part about being in Texas.) Spotting this impressive Austin house redesign on design*sponge added fuel to the fire (check out the sliding chalkboard door panel.)

Got a kick out of Bakerella‘s insanely adorable — and creative — strawberry “milkshake” cupcakes. They’d be a major hit at a birthday party.

Happy weekend!


Review: Klub 4 Kidz Playspace in Williamsburg

We view playspaces with some serious ambivalence. On the one hand, they offer something structured, fun, and unusual to do — and the kids wear themselves out. On the other, they can be crowded, wild, and — on occasion — full of the kind of entitled New York City parents you want to avoid.

Still. It’s winter and new ground to cover is new ground to cover. When the arts-and-crafts routine has grown weary at home, I’m ready to pay for some entertainment and willing to travel for it.

I’ve had Williamsburg‘s new Klub 4 Kidz on my radar since reading about it on Mommy Poppins. Goodbye, construction paper- and glue stick-strewn dining room table! Goodbye, Park Slope! Hello, neighborhood that makes me feel OLD AS HELL.

Chrissy had to be convinced. But that wasn’t hard, given that she knew I wouldn’t shut up about the place until we went. She caved easily. Here’s what we found.

Klub 4 Kidz

Ready, set, run!

What it is:

Klub 4 Kidz is a big, bright, cheery new playspace where your kids can run, jump, climb, and slide. There’s a big climbing structure (where Jasper and Magnolia spent every second of their time, pictured above) and a rock climbing wall. My kids are 4 and 6 — it was perfect for them. Older kids (and a couple of adults) gravitated to the rock climbing wall.

There’s also a separate toddler play area and an arts space.

My kids were happy making the loop on the climbing gym — there’s a little Zip-slide thingie, tunnels to crawl through, different levels to clamber up and down, and two impressively fast slides to zoom down.

Klub 4 Kidz also offers classes and parties; they have a small cafe with snacks for kids and coffee for tired parents.

What it costs:

Open Play in the playground area is $12 for one kid, $20 for two. Ditto the toddler play area. See prices for rock climbing (it’s extra), combo passes, and daily play passes here.

Where it is:

Klub 4 Kidz is at 159 North 4th Street (bet Bedford and Driggs) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Tel: 718-599-5900

What we thought of the place:

A huge hit and we will definitely go back! They open at 9am on the weekends, and I think getting there when the doors open would be a great idea — let the kids exhaust themselves in the morning, then go have lunch, and you’re in great shape for the rest of the day.

Kids leave hot, sweaty, tired, and happy.

Klub 4 KidzKlub 4 Kidz

More Shiny Brite Reviews:

Brooklyn’s BounceU

Children’s Museum of the Arts

Moomah Cafe + Art Space in Tribeca

January 15 – 16: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas


Head to DUMBO for the Jacques Torres Classic or Wicked hot chocolate.

Besides swim lessons, we have a plan-free weekend — yay! That never happens. We’ll be watching the Golden Globes, of course — other than that, here are a few things on my mind….

‘Tis the season for hot chocolate at Jacques Torres. (Make mine Wicked, please.) See what other Brooklyn spots Mommy Poppins recommends for chocolate-y-marshmallow goodness.

The kids have been clamoring for a turn on our iPhones lately to play Angry Birds or Cake Doodle. Here’s an alternative — give them their own ($10!) Fisher Price Smart Phone instead! (via Mom Finds) Will cut way down on the anxiety factor when the thing gets dropped (and it always gets dropped.)

We’ve been meaning to take the kids to Arty Facts at the Brooklyn Museum for ages — maybe this is the weekend, with the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the program. Look for studio projects and family tours.

Think you could get your kids to stop fighting and hitting by paying them? A mom at The Stir did. Really! It worked for her 6- and 4-year old. I might give it a try, too.

Check out mappiness, an interesting project (and tool) that lets you “map” your own happiness based on lots of different factors. Hhmmm. (via Cool Mom Tech and Swiss Miss)

So, um, yeah — happy weekend!


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