Monday, July 29, 2013

Kids + Summer = ???

So there's a lil' community called CT Moms that has some great insights on raising rugrats, and I turn to them with questions to my "what the %^&* do I do?!" sorts of questions.  There was a recent post on summer fun that I thought was worth passing along.  Here's an excerpt of my favorite parts of this blog entry on a little summer salvation courtesy of CT Moms (most links added by yours truly):

Fairfield County has a plethora of things to do with little kids but when it’s 8am in your house and you’re already pulling your hair out with stir-crazy children running around you in circles, it can be hard to think much less put together a plan to go out!  Relax, review the list below and just make sure to pack snacks, sippy cups and diapers for the car!!

Silverman Farm: Great petting zoo; you pay 25 cents to feed the animals. Awesome for picking apples, peaches and pumpkins.

Chestnut Hill Park: Stamford. Lots of kids in good weather – like instant play dates.

Mead Park: Best park café around.

Nature Center: Stamford (fantastic – don’t miss the reptiles from 10am -2pm!!). Lots of farm animals. (SN: Check out special events.)

New Canaan Nature Center: Awesome large birds and other animals. Great Natural Playground for kids.

Aquarium: Norwalk (good indoor activity).

Stepping Stones: Norwalk (good indoor activity). (SN: We are here all. the. time.)

EarthPlace: Westport 9am-5pm.

Beardsley Zoo: Bridgeport Zoo — a manageable size for the little ones. (SN: Great birthday parties here; kids have a pleasant freakout when they can actually touch the animals.)

Bronx Zoo — super big and super fabulous!

Cove Beach — Stamford beach. Love it. Soundwaters, the house on the right side of the beach is fun to explore. Plus if you like to boat, they have afternoon and sunset sailing on a large schooner. (SN: note you need a pass in the summer; Stamford residents can pick one up at 888 Washington Blvd.; check out summer activities for kids too.)

Sheffield Island Lighthouse and Nature Trail.

Lake Compounce – awesome amusement park. 1 hr and 15 mins away.

Bartlett Arboretum has a new educational space and natural playground for the kids. Don’t miss summer Sunday concerts in the garden! Plus lots of great trails to hike. (SN: Including summer concert series, which we've loved.)

Miniature Golf Norwalk (next to Calf Pasture Beach) $5 per person for 18 holes.

KidCity Middletown. Abt 60 miles from Stamford. Great Children’s Museum. Get reciprocity if you have Stepping Stones Family member plus.

Go Wild in Greenwich. Family Field Day and Hot Air Balloon Ride. 

Norwalk Oyster Festival, September. (SN: We've been and we couldn't find any oysters...but fun all the same.)

New Haven Trolley Museum.

• Fire Department — almost any will let you tour anytime.

• Any Construction site provides great joy for my boys.

• Digger Park in Darien — Cherry Lawn Park. (SN: Our son went NUTS over all the trucks to play with.)

Schooner in Stamford. Sound Waters You can have an afternoon sail with the whole family, or a sunset sail with dad.

• Choo Choo: Ride on the train just one station or to Grand Central. My boys LOVE this.

Aviation Museum, Long Island (right next door to Fire Museum.Very very cool, parents will love too!

Fire Museum, Long Island: attached to the Aviation Museum(about 1 hr from Stamford)

Bridgeport Bluefish Baseball: Tickets $7- $18 each. You can get a group discount. We had a BLAST last year. The stadium is small and manageable. Plus lots for kids to do in the kids area.

Train Museum in Danbury: Fall Foliage Rail Excursion – train goes from Danbury to the charming town of Kent. Pumpkin Patch Trains In addition to the train stuff, they also have fun fall stuff those days (cider, cookies, coloring station etc). Santa Trains too. Birthday parties too: Sat: 11am — 1pm, 2pm -4pm and Sunday 2-4pm for more info. The pitfall is that Danbury is kind of a hike but it opens at 10 so if you leave early, you can spend just enough time to get home for the nap.

The Dinosaur Place.

Brooklyn Childrens Museum (reciprocity w Stepping Stones family plus).

Long Island Children’s Museum.

Mystic Day Trip.

Peabody Museum in New Haven: They have a great exhibit on the earth (interactive), very large dinosaur models, a room of taxidermy birds, and small room upstairs where kids can watch ants building a colony see reptiles.

• Pick Your Own Locations in CT: – for a full list of u-pick farms, plus farmers markets, events, and info on heritage crop. – websites and directions to local farms in your area, plus resources for canning, too. – for pick-your-own farms and farmers markets in the northeast (and soon beyond). (SN: We did Jones Family Farm this past weekend and had the absolute best time; hey, there's a vineyard too win-freakin-win!)

Waveny Concerts. (SN: It's also a lovely park just to walk around and watch the model airplane folks decorate the sky with their creations.)

Westport has a pretty good children’s series in summer too (magic shows, puppet shows, concerts, etc).

Rowayton Beach Concerts.

• Daily Cruises to Sheffield Island & Lighthouse Tours

•  Kayaking: Family Fun for all!

•  The Shore Line Trolley Museum: $8 adults; $4 kids 2-5yo; Ride the historic Branford Electric Railway; take the trolley to a shady picnic grove; see trolleys and artifacts of the trolley era; watch craftspeople in the restoration shop.

•  Ride the Naugy: $12 adults; $8 kids 3-12yo

Railroad Museum of New England in Naugatuck (Litchfield Hills). Take an hour long ride with vistas of scenic waterway, the region’s wildlife, and the Thomaston Dam.

Essex Steam Train and Riverboat. (SN: Great place to bring a picnic and make a day of it.)

The Philip Johnson Glass House: $30-$45 per person (all ages including children); Okay, so this isn’t exactly family friendly, but if you can go your should. I’ve been trying but the first two seasons have been sold out!…The mission of the Philip Johnson Glass House is for the 47-acre campus to become a center-point and catalyst for the preservation of modern architecture, landscape, and art, and a canvas for inspiration, experimentation and cultivation honoring the legacy of Philip Johnson (1906–2005) and David Whitney (1939–2005). In addition to guided tours, the Glass House will launch programs and provide national leadership in the preservation of the Modern.

May Fair, the Saturday before Mother’s Day. It is the largest one day fair in the state of Connecticut. They also have a huge tag sale as part of it. It is held at St. Mark’s Church in New Canaan. Lots of fun!

Phew!  So that's the CT Moms post, and I'm tired just copying it!  It's been a great inspiration for us. Hope it helps you have a fabulous summer.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I *Heart* Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron always know just the thing to say.

- On parenthood: “[A successful parent is one] who raises a child who grows up and is able to pay for his or her own psychoanalysis.”

- On the sexes: "Men dominate the conversation in Washington and therefore, as far as I am concerned, the conversations are far less interesting than those in New York."

- On life lessons: "My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have the potential to be comic stories the next."

The writer behind When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle who passed away just about a year ago, lives on in Norwalk. The play she wrote alongside sister, Delia Ephron, is called Love, Loss and What I Wore and it's coming to the Carriage House Arts Center. Enjoy wine, cheese and a top notch play. You can see it next weekend, and that's it! There will be shows only from July 26 to the 28th. What's really cool is you can get in FOR FREE with the donation of a women's business suit as it's supporting Dress for Success. No suit to donate? Still a very handbook happy $20.