Archive for June, 2011

8 Things I’m Excited to Do with the Kids in Paris

eiffeltower by esharkdesign

photo via esharkdesign


No time to post, really, but here’s a quickie…. As you might have noticed, we’re GOING AWAY. To France and Italy. To see good friends, to explore on our own, to enjoy good food and wine, to relax big-time en famille.

We’re kicking things off this weekend in ParisMagnolia keeps saying she’s so excited because we’re going to Pareeee! (she insists on saying it in French, which makes me happier than I can actually convey in this post.) Jasper is excited, too — here’s what I’m looking forward to doing with them in the City of Light.

Jumping on trampolines in the Tuileries Garden — This seems like an excellent post-flight kid activity for the afternoon of our arrival, doesn’t it? The kids will have been cooped up on the plane for hours and will be jet-lagged out of their minds — so go bounce your brains out! May it exhaust you even more completely.

Riding the rides — you can take a steam train from Porte Maillot to get there! — and seeing the animals at Le Jardin d’Acclimatation.

Letting them run wild in the Gardens at The Champs de Mars, with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Fingers crossed for good photo opps.

Visiting the play area and carousel — and ponies! and boats in the fountains! — in the Luxembourg Gardens.

Eating ice cream at Berthillon and gobbling up Nutella crepes on the street.

Taking the Metro — Jasper will be in heaven! And so will I. All of the many, many times I hopped on and off the Metro in Paris when I lived there in my 20s (my 20s!), and later when I visited the city but still before kids, I never could have imagined I’d one day be getting on and off with my happily train-obsessed son.

Seeing the Eiffel Tower at night. Because seeing the Eiffel Tower at night is one of those things that makes you happy to be ALIVE.

If there’s time, the playground at the Parc de la Villette, not far from where I used to live.

That ought to keep us busy for the couple of days we’ll be there. Then, we’re heading south!

Paris-with-kids ideas and inspiration via Ciao Bambino, Pret a Voyager, and our friend Kim (a bientot!)


Family-Friendly Apartments to Rent in Paris

T Is for Travel: 16 Family Travel Tips



NYC Public Pools Open for the 2011 Season Tomorrow, June 29!

Red Hook swimming pool

One more reason to love Red Hook: the biggest damn swimming pool you've ever seen.

Everybody in the pool!

Today was the last day of NYC public school — which means Pre-K and First Grade are officially history at our house. (Sniff, sniff. Those moving-up ceremonies are some serious kind of emotional business, aren’t they?)

The next few days will be a wild flail of packing for a month for four people, ad hoc meal prep, last-minute errand-running, and, oh yeah — dealing with the kids, who are no longer conveniently deposited at P.S. 295 from the hours of 8:30 am – 3:15 pm. Which means….

There’s a good chance you can spot us at the Red Hook or Douglass and DeGraw pools before we head out of town — NYC public pools open for the season tomorrow, Wednesday, June 29.

Here’s more on the best swimming pools in New York City, public and otherwise — plus the lowdown on the rules (don’t forget your lock for the locker room, etc.) FYI, outdoor pool hours are 11 am – 7pm, with a break for cleaning from 3 to 4 pm.

And, besides pools, here are 15 of the best places for kids to get wet in NYC. On the list: Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6.

No more school — keep it real and stay cool, peeps! Happy summer!


Weekly Menu, June 26-June 30th: Countdown is On!

Happy Pride, everyone! I’m celebrating by booking a hotel on the Italian Riviera. Oh yeah. On the beach. You know what the weather looks like in Italy? SUNNY. HOT. PERFECT!

Pretty perfect looking in Provence, too.

Only five more days here in the states before we head off on the vacation to end all previous vacations! This week is all about: packing, pulling everything together, and getting ready to go.

Where? Paris, the South of France to stay chez Mousseron,

Don't the Mousserons look like fun? They are.

Tuscany, and then back again the way we came. The apartment in Paris is booked, the TGV tickets to the South bought, the car reserved, the house in Tuscany rented. Now, the countdown.

Mom & I in Paris, September 1988

Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn, things are pretty great! The Gods smiled and brought back gorgeous warm (not too warm!) weather AND our elected officials in Albany gave us legalized gay marriage in New York! Our last CSA pick-up yesterday yielded amazing greens (arugula, leafy lettuce, broccoli rabe), broccoli, beets, and of course, EGGS. Have to work our way through it all.

Weekly Menu:

Sunday night: We’re being entertained! Too early for SUMMER PUDDING? Hoping not.

Monday: Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto and Garlic-Scape Pesto (which we had on our pizza last night- delicious!) with Arugula Salad

Tuesday: Carne Asada Tacos with Grilled Vegetables

Wednesday: Fontina, Broccoli Rabe and Mushroom Omelets with Leafy Green Salad

Thursday: Rotisserie Chicken, Kale Salad with Avocado and Parmesan

And we’re off!

Paella from one of our last visits to France. YUM

Here’s to adventure!

June 25 – 26: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas


The closer we get to saying goodbye to Brooklyn and taking off for the month of July — !!! — the more my brain is all over the map: Jasper‘s last report card ever for first grade comes home today, should we buy a new digital camera?, must marinate the steak for dinner, need to reserve TGV and top-of-the-Eiffel Tower tix, are those new sandals of Magnolia‘s still too big?, I should start taking a yoga class, can’t forget to pay the balance of summer camp before we leave, crap! we’re almost out of wine.

Yeah. Anyway.

Here’s more of what’s on my mind this week:

* gorgeous bedding.

* rainbow cakes.

* pretty peonies.

* the perfect tartine.

* Gwynnie’s fried rice with kale and scallions.

Happy weekend!

Destination Doughnuts: Dough in Clinton Hill


(photo: justcooknyc)

As anyone who knows me knows, I will happily travel out of my way for something good to eat. And doughnuts from Dough in Clinton Hill have been on my list since I sampled a delicious bite of one with friends at the Brooklyn Flea a few weeks ago. A trek over to the ‘hood had to happen, and it did last weekend.

The kids were with me instantly of course — who wants doughnuts for breakfast?! — and Chrissy wasn’t hard to convince.

Flavors tasted: dulce de leche with toasted almonds, chocolate with cacao nibs, chai cream-filled, and plain glazed — dulce de leche was the hands-down star, although the kids were pretty happy with the still-warm plain glazed. Sadly, the Earl Grey chocolate eluded me — some lucky girl in line ahead of me ordered the last one.

Dough was brought to Brooklyn by the same people behind popular cafe/takeout spot Choice Market, just down the street, and also worth a special trip. Just more reason to love the cool, evolving world of Clinton Hill.



305 Franklin Avenue (at Lafayette)




Top photo via justcooknyc on flickr


Words a Mom from Texas Always Wants to Hear

chili con queso

I may not be raising my kids in Texas, but one tiny bit of evidence from my daughter that I’m raising them right: “mom, when are you going to make us chili con queso again?”

Warms my heart, honey.


say "queso!"

chili con queso photo via Homesick Texan


Friday Blog Crush: Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom

Design Mom

gabrielle blair

photo via: Gabrielle Blair / Design Mom -- Isn't she cute?

Loving Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom this week and wanted to introduce you to her on the off-chance that you’re not already a reader.

Here’s why I’m crushing:

* Who she is as a blogger is perfectly clear, and I find that inspiring. She says of herself that she is a designer and mother of six, and she posts on “where design and motherhood intersect.” Brilliant.

* She’s a mother of six — !!!!!! (That’s six exclamation points, one for each kid.) Wow. Talk about “I don’t know how she does it.”

* Her site introduces me to new and beautiful things and ideas all the time. Like these tiny, adorable owl-shaped crayons.

* She has an awesome, accessible voice — I feel like we’re having a friendly conversation when I’m reading.

* Last — and this one is a biggie — she and her family have moved to France for a year! I’m experiencing big-time envy. They were featured on House Hunters International (which I love), and we happened to catch the episode this week. Fun! They had three amazing homes to choose from — here’s the fabulous house that they settled on, in Normandy:

La Cressonniere

La Cressonniere, photo via Design Mom

Feeling like you might want to make a move abroad, too? I know I am. Here’s more on the house the Blair family is living in, as well as some great links to sites where you can find furnished, long-term rentals.

And here’s a great post Gabrielle wrote on financing a move abroad.

Check out Design Mom! See the 10 posts to get you started on her home page — including this cute porch makeover that she did on her own home before moving to France. (We have the same, exact red mailbox hanging in front of our house!)


And now, for some unrelated weekend goodness:

Take the kids to the NEW part of the Highline — it’s open! And it features Rainbow City, an inflatable sculpture garden that kids can explore, via Mommy Poppins.

Bought one of Diana Kane’s open circle pendant necklaces for myself this week (thanks, mom!) and am loving it, too. Maybe it’s time for you to drop in and see what catches your eye for the summer?

Last…. Mother’s Day is a bit of a stress and a flail in our house — who takes care of mom? — but the pressure’s off for Father’s Day! Happy Dad’s Day, though, if you’ve got one to fete in your house.

Have fun celebrating family!

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