One of the fun things about having a blog is getting to know other bloggers. We’ve loved reading and getting to know Karen Connell, the mom who founded A Child Grows in Brooklyn as a resource for local parents, in 2006. We’ve gotten countless great tips and bits of info from her!
As mistress of ACGIB, I consider Karen a super-savvy mama on all things kid-related in our home borough and beyond. So I thought it would be fun to ask her a few questions — about blogs she loves, Brooklyn, and where she likes to hang with her family.
(Photo: Sue Barr)
So you’ve been blogging for a while now — what’s been the most surprising thing about being a member of the Brooklyn blogosphere?
How many new friends I have made in four years — and that means grownups and kids!
What sites do you turn to for great tips and info?
I love ad hoc MOM because it describes my life: trying to find a good balance between working part-time and being a mom. The women on that site get it.
I go to culturemom for daytrips and advice for traveling with kids. She is hands-down the most experienced family traveler in the blogosphere.
I read ohdeedoh for eye candy and product information. They make me drool.
I go to Brownstoner for neighborhood news in Brooklyn. It’s not just a real estate blog — it tells stories about the buildings and people.
I read One Hungry Mama for healthy and (generally) easy recipes for cooking for a family. Though I am an admittedly terrible cook, the recipes I have tried there are pretty near perfect for a novice like me.
I not only love the name of the blog Seriously Soupy but I love the adventurous daily soups she makes. Watermelon and Lime soup…. yes, really!
I like Mama Threads for affordable and stylin’ clothes for the mom who doesn’t want to look like a mom all the time.
And of course I read yours for thoughtful posts as well as reviews of the places you take your kids — and your recipes and snack ideas are always fun and simple.
Aw, thanks, Karen!
OK, tell us about some of your favorite places and things to do….
My favorite museum out of Brooklyn is the Staten Island Children’s Museum. They have innovative and interactive exhibits like constructing and building a house. There’s an amazing garden nearby that you can picnic in and admire the exhaustive work someone else did to make all those flowers bloom!
I am a big fan of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Not only is it endlessly beautiful and fun for kids to run through and see wildlife (fish, turtles, frogs), but they plan exceptionally artistic and creative kids’ activities.
Beyond the obvious choices like Two Boots and Bubby’s, what are a couple of your favorite restaurants for dining out with the family?
I love Olea in Fort Greene. It’s a Mediterranean restaurant so they have cushy pillows, window seats and plenty of fresh foods that are simple enough for a picky eater or spicy for a more adventurous one. (We always order a bowl of fresh peas off the menu, lamb keftedes, hummus, orzo with veggies and some of their hearty olives).
Also Sam’s Restaurant in Cobble Hill. One of my all-time favorite diners. Lots of character and delicious comfort food (I recommend the corned beef and tuna melts!)
Have a favorite summer outing with the kids?
I think a trip to Brooklyn Boulders in the summer is pretty fun and cool. The whole family can climb and cheer each other on. It’s a real team builder.
And what’s a winter fave?
A trip to the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City and then a winter walk in Socrates Park. There’s nothing more wonderful than seeing sculpture engulfed in snow. It transforms the art and creates new shapes.
I know you live in Fort Greene — tell me what you love about your Brooklyn ‘hood?
I love that it is such a small community that is dedicated to keeping it that way through landmarks and community events, some of which still take place in peoples’ private homes. The park is a huge destination for everyone in the neighborhood and it’s small enough that you start to know everyone by going there.
Of course we’re all in agreement that Brooklyn is awesome — but tell me why YOU love it for raising kids? What’s special to you?
Oh, there’s a lot we like about raising our kids here. I like that we know everyone on our street. It took a couple of years of “stooping” to get to know all the faces and names, but now the kids know all the adults and kids and view them as friends.
I love that my kids see a variety of people, ages, professions and ways to live your life. It makes the whole world seem open to possibilities and choices.
Living in an urban place means our kids have to deal with negotiating for space and toys with lots of other kids on the playground, at a sing along or in the park. They learn quickly that they are part of a larger group and need to work with others to create a harmonious environment or that they need to speak up for what they want.
This was fun — thanks, Karen!
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