Adventure, baby!

New York Food

Keste Pizza: Kid-Friendly Pizza & Vino, West Village, New York

Keste #Pizza: #kid-friendly #restaurants, #west village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

In my early days in New York, I was introduced to Kesté Pizza & Vino on Bleeker Street, by my Aussie expat friends. It was a welcome respite from the chaos in my life at that stage — pregnant, moving to New York City and starting my life from scratch. Inside Kesté, life was simpler. It was relaxed and casual, with welcoming staff, a cozy vibe, uh-mazing pizza, and understanding friends.

Missy E ate a lot of Kesté pizza when she was in utero, but none since popping out of it until my last birthday, when we decided to drop in for a casual lunch. As always, the staff was inviting and sat us straight away on an early Saturday afternoon, in a tiny little corner booth, backed up against the open kitchen.

It was pretty squishy at the table, but our location turned out to be a blessing when I realised that the glass behind me peeked straight into the kitchen and that Miss E could be briefly entertained by watching the pizzas being made from scratch, and then being baked in the oven. She also thought it would be fun to play with the wine bottles.

Keste #Pizza: #kid-friendly #restaurants, #west village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Even though it was my birthday (or maybe especially because it was my birthday?), Miss E was being a total demon child. Up, down, no, no, noooooooooo. The iPhone and then pizza occupied her briefly, but sadly this was one of the fastest and least relaxing visits I’ve had at Kesté. Ever.

Our visit might have been improved if the staff had been a bit friendlier towards us — especially towards Miss E. Yes, I know she can be INCREDIBLY annoying (such as on this particular day), but it would have made our lunch just that much more enjoyable and less stressful if we’d felt that they liked kids a bit more (or at least pretended to). While the staff were very efficient, we felt like they were really rushed on this particular day and our food was thrown at us, with no effort to make us comfortable, such as offers to get us things like a plastic cup for the child (I think we actually asked for this and it was ignored), or just basic welcoming conversation. It could just have been because we arrived during a busy time and the staff were super busy, so I would absolutely return with Miss E to give it another shot — if only because their pizza is SO FRICKING GOOD.

Keste #Pizza: #kid-friendly #restaurants, #west village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

At Kesté, they make each pizza to order, from the crust up, so the pizzas super fresh in every possible way. They even make gluten-free pizzas for those who request them.

The tomato sauce on my Margherita ($13) is the perfect sweet tomato blend, with giant gloops of fresh mozzarella and little basil leaves. We ordered a pizza per adult — between the two of us, Missy E and I polished ours off. Alec was so hungry he ate his entire pizza.

We hope to return to Kesté on another day when our daughter is not trying to destroy our souls.

Last Bite: One of the best pies you’ll get in the city, at one of the most reasonable prices. The perfect place to introduce kids to what a quality pizza actually tastes like.

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: Minimal. Fold up strollers only.
Easy access: Yes
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Kesté Pizza & Vino
271 Bleecker St (between Jones St & Morton St)
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (212) 243-1500
Prices: $$
Hours: Mon-Thur 12pm-3:30pm, 5pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-11:30pm, Sun 12pm-10:30pm

Where To Play With Kids In NOLA: A Cheat Sheet

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

The Big Easy is a decadent party town for adults. For families, on the surface NOLA looks pretty un-friendly. Unlike New York, there aren’t playgrounds on every corner. There are however a lot of fun and creative ways to entertain kids of all ages — we’ve done the research so you can take it easy.

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Jackson Square
This square is located in the French Quarter, with gorgeous architecture on all sides. It’s ideally located near the famous Cafe Du Monde (for beinegts) and the waterfront for strolling. It’s an oasis in the city with grassed areas for kids to run around, and musicians and artists edged around the square for additional entertainment. St Louis Cathedral looms over the square, creating a picturesque photo op.
700 Decatur St, New Orleans

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Audubon Nature Institute
The Audubon Institute is home to numerous nature attractions in New Orleans. The best value is to buy an all inclusive experience ticket.
$39.50 Adult, $27.50, Child (2 -12), $27.50 Senior (65+)

Audubon Zoo
As well as being home to animals from all around the world, the zoo houses a unique Louisiana Swamp Exhibit to give visitors a taste of local wildlife.
Re-opening in March 2014.  $17.50 Adult, $12 Child (2 -12), $13 Senior (65+)

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
See endangered African Blackfoot penguins and check out the new interactive Geaux Fish! exhibit, showcaseing Louisiana’s fishing industry.
$22.50 Adult, $16 Child (2 -12), $17 Senior (65+)

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com
Entergy IMAX Theater
Watch 3D movies on a day when it’s too hot for anything else.
$10.50 Adult, $8 Child (2 -12), $9.50 Senior (65+)

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
Hundreds of live butterflies await!
$16.50 Adult, $12 Child (2 -12), $13 Senior (65+)

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com
Louisiana Children’s Museum
Enjoy the museum’s interactive exhibits like a room devoted to blowing bubbles. With 30,000 square feet of exhibits and programs kids of all ages will enjoy themselves.
420 Julia Street, New Orleans. $8.50 per person, adults and children. LCM members and children under the age of one are admitted FREE.

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

New Orleans City Park
This 1,300 acre public park in New Orleans, Louisiana, is a short tram ride from the center of NOLA (which is a fun activity to do in itself). It’s the 6th-largest and 7th-most-visited urban public park in the United States, and jam-packed with fun for kids and adults.
1 Palm Dr, New Orleans, LA 70124

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpure Gardens
The five-acre  Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden holds more than 60 sculptures and is free to enter and wander around. The sculptures lie nestled among winding paths and a scenic lagoon.

Places to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Morning Call
This little cafe serving beignets and chocolate milk (plus cafe au lait for adults) is right next to a large playground and open 24 hours. Cash only.

PLaces to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Playgrounds
City Park features three playgrounds for kid of all ages.

PLaces to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
The amusement park features 16 rides including the park’s 100-year-old namesake wooden carousel. The Carousel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
$3/person. Kids 36” & under get admission free. Check website for seasonal opening days and times.

City Putt
City Putt is a 36-hole mini golf complex that’s open all year-round.
Open Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday, 10am to 10pm (last rental at 9pm). Ages 13+ $8; Children (4-12) $6; Second round in same visit $4; Children (0-3) Free.

PLaces to Play in NOLA via brunchwithmybaby.com

Storyland
Featuring 25 larger-than-life charcters right out of popular children’s fairytales such as Peter Pan, Snow White and Cinderella. Kids can climb aboard Captain Hook’s pirate ship or Cinderlla’s pumpkin carriage.
Open Saturday-Sunday, 11am-5pm; Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm. $3/person.

Train Garden
Kids and adults alike will marvel at the model of New Orleans in the early 19th Century  with replicas of streetcars and trains winding around it. 1300 feet of track carrying streetcars and trains like those that traveled the city in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, at 1/22 of their actual size. Open Saturday-Sunday, 10am-4:30pm. Adults (over 12) $6 Children (5-12) $3

Coming in 2015 to City Park: Splash Park

Extra photography thanks to yelp.com: ALDoug O, Eileen ZTina M

Tea & Sympathy: A Touch Of Britain In The West Village

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

I have to admit, I like a challenge. When Alexis recently wrote a post on the best afternoon tea spots in New York City, and listed Tea & Sympathy as the least kid-friendly, it sparked my interest. “What?! But WHY isn’t it kid-friendly?” I thought. I LOVE afternoon tea and am constantly in search of proper English scones like I used to get at home. This overwhelming desire to immerse myself in a proper British afternoon instilled enough bravery in me to attempt an outing to Tea & Sympathy with Miss E.

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Tea & Sympathy don’t take reservations. It’s a teeny tiny little cafe in the West Village (it fits about 30 people). It is literally so squishy that people are sandwiched together while eating their scones with jam and cream. Watch out for your elbows, there is hot tea on its way through!

It’s also a super popular afternoon tea spot, not just for the expat crowd like us, but for anyone craving a bit of REALLY good British food. While Tea & Sympathy is best-known for their afternoon tea, they actually serve a full British menu, including items like bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and baked beans on toast with grated cheese. (Side bar: British baked beans are VERY different to ones made in the USA. They’re less sweet and more . . . beany. I found a store that stocks imported British baked beans and it seriously changed my life.)

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Even though we arrived in prime lunch time (they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, none of this brunch business), we only waited a few moments to be seated at our table. Our friendly Irish waitress came by for a chat and took our order, and, pretty quickly, the order arrived, hassle -free. I ordered the Afternoon Tea For One (Assorted finger sandwiches, vegetarian upon request, scones with clotted cream and strawberry or raspberry jam, a selection of cakes and a pot of steaming hot tea, $35). Alec ordered the Shepherd’s Pie ($14.95), which he had been craving (we eat a lot of savoury pies in Australia and REALLY miss them).

Everything arrived pretty quickly, which was great considering how tightly we were squeezed into our table with a restless toddler. Our table was literally so small that we had to put the tea pot and my water glass on the windowsill.

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Back in Sydney, we eat a lot of afternoon tea (well, I did anyway). The Aussie-style of afternoon tea is basically British, which is a bit different to the American style in subtle ways. The scones are drier and less sweet, the cake is a sponge with thick clotted cream (not sweet cream, so dense it stands on its own), and there is usually a bit of sticky date pudding. My afternoon tea was expensive, but so large it could be eaten by two people. It contained: three sandwiches, two scones, a huge slice of sponge cake with cream and jam, and a sticky date cupcake. Lucky for me our cheery waitress offered to package up everything I didn’t eat for me to finish off later.

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Alec loved his shepherd’s pie — the perfect amount of fluffy mashed potato on top of a steaming boat of mince, with peas and corn on the side. Just like home.

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

The scones were phenomenal — I have to say here that I’ve grown to enjoy American scones too, but oh man, there is NOTHING like a traditional English scone with tea.

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Next door is a store selling everything British you can imagine food-wise, plus some cute paraphernalia like teapots. They’re expensive, so shop with care. We were happy to be able to find some Mars Bars and Ribena. SCORE!

#Tea & Sympathy: kid-friendly restaurants, West Village, #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

 Last Bite: Tea & Sympathy is not for the feint of heart if you’re bringing small kids. Be prepared for a possible wait, super tight surrounding that require kids to stay seated. You will, however, have one of the most authentic afternoon teas in New York City, making it totally worth the adventure.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes – in the store next door, for folding strollers.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Tea & Sympathy
108 Greenwich Ave,
New York, NY 10011
Phone: (212) 989 9735
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-10:30pm, Sat & Sun 9:30am-10:30pm
Get directons

7 A.M. Enfant Adult WarMMuffs + Kids' WarMMuffs GIVEAWAY

Keep little and big fingers toasty warm with our giveaway this week – a set of adult and kid WarMMuffs from 7am Enfant.

WarMMuffs are insulated with heat protective fibers and have a soft fleece lining, creating a snug and cosy pretective cover for hands and replacing gloves by attaching to your stroller. Now your scooter-loving little one can keep on scooting all winter long with a pair of the brand new WarMMuffs for kids.

The new kids’ 7 A.M. Enfant WarMMuffs are basically the same as the iconic adult WarMMuffs, shrunk down to fit teeny tiny hands. They easily attach to scooters and bikes with big, adjustable velcro strips, and are available in nine colors. You’ll love them because they’re easier for little tots to use than gloves and mittens, and your kid will love them because they can stay outside for hours, no matter how low the temps get (wait a minute!).

#7AMEnfant #WarMMuffs #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY
The generous folks at 7 A.M Enfant are giving one lucky Brunch With My Baby reader the chance to win a pair of adult AND Kids’ WarMMuffs. If you want toasty and snug hands (who doesn’t?!) enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck — and stay warm, friends!

Giveaway opens Monday January 6, 2014, to 11:59pm EST Sunday, January 12.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only.

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Think Global, Act Local: Inkkas Shoes Review & Giveaway

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

One of the absolute coolest things about living in a cramped city like New York is that you’re bound to have people in your circles who are doing really cool things. I recently discovered that one of my Brooklyn neighbors is the creator of this beautiful line of shoes, called Inkkas.

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Inkkas.com is a socially conscious clothing company founded in 2012 on the principles of fair trade, philanthropy and authenticity. All production, sourcing and manufacturing of the shoes is done South America. The shoes are handmade of authentic South American textile by South Americans. As well as being beautiful, they’re ethically made and afforable (yay!). Kids’ Inkkas are $46 and adults’ start at $65. A portion of all proceeds is donated to to help protect the Amazon rainforest.

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

I was supremely thrilled for the opportunity to try out Inkkas shoes for myself and Miss E. Sidebar: it seems a lot of people actually named their child “Cheese” last year (no judgement!), so to start the new year off, I’m changing my daughter’s online pseudoym to something a bit less . . . dairy-like. Miss E it is (and sometimes Missy E, if she’s being sassy).

Back to the shoes: my slightly more subtle (in terms of design) Inkkas are the Concrete Jungle Low Tops (also available in High Tops). I like that the pattern is funky but not so over the top that I can’t just throw them on while wearing other colors. Missy E on the other hand, adores her very brightly colored Cotton Candy Kids.

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

I took the Inkkas shoes on our trip to Mexico a few weeks back since we needed some comfortable shoes to run around in (and to search for lizards in, and to take trips through lagoons in, and to eat guacamole in). Not only did the shoes fit the aesthetic of the trip (the patterns are reminiscent of traditional Mexican textiles), they’re also really comfortable, making them the perfect shoes for both kids and adults to wear all day.

#Inkkas Shoes Review & #Giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY
The kind folks at Inkkas are giving Brunch With My Baby readers the chance to win their own pair of Inkkas shoes. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only.

Giveaway open Thurs Jan 2, 2014 to 11:59pm Wed Jan 8 EST.

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Brunch With My Baby were provided with samples for reviewing purposes.

Home For The Holidays: Pediped Review & Giveaway

#Pediped shoes review & #giveaway - brunchwithmybaby.com

Baby, it’s cold outside! While you’re pulling on the boots and wrapping yourselves in the warmest possible coats you can, you still need to dress up for the holidays (or, if you’re anything like us, dress your kid up and then throw on something passable for yourself as an after thought).

Big boots are great for the cold, but they are NOT great with indoor heating, which is why Missy Cheese will be wearing a pair of Pediped Flex Janes for all her holiday functions (this toddler keeps a busy dance card). She’s such a super active kid that she will only tolerate comfortable shoes that let her move freely and climb things that toddlers aren’t meant to climb (like, say, kitchen stools, or Christmas trees . . . but, I digress). The Pediped Flex Janes are not just pretty-looking shoes for looking good in photos, they’re also so practical and comfortable that kids won’t refuse to wear them. Added bonus — these shoes double as school shoes, so Cheese will be wearing them to school in spring.

#pediped review & #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

Pediped shoes feature a Flex Fit System™, which is an additional insole that can be inserted into the shoe for a snug fit and then removed to make room as your child’s foot grows. These insoles can reduce shoe size by almost half a size, extending the life of the shoe. When you’re forking out big bucks every few months for even more shoes, you really want those babies to last as long as possible!

#pediped review & #giveaway via brunchwithmybaby.com

It’s also worth noting that the makers of Pediped have been hearing for years from their “grown-up” customers that they want nice-looking, comfortable shoes, too. Pediped’s answer? A shoe line for adults, called Brian James, which launched last spring. We were sent a pair of Brian James 3.0 Booties to test drive, and I have to say, they are so comfortable — made from soft leather, and with a heel that is easy to walk in — plus they make my legs look great (woo!). The magic is in the making: Extra padding on both the ball and heel of foot. My feet are thanking Pediped’s consideration.

#Brianjames shoes review & #Pediped #giveaway - brunchwithmybaby.com

GIVEAWAY
The kind folks at Pediped are giving Brunch With My Baby readers the chance to win their own pair of Pediped kids’ shoes. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Entry open to US mailing addresses only.

Giveaway open Wed Dec 18, 2013, to 11:59pm EST Tues Dec 24, 2013.

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Brunch With My Baby were given a product sample for reviewing purposes. All opinions are our own.

Juliana’s Pizza, Brought To You By The Grimaldis: Kid-Friendly Restaurants, DUMBO, New York

Juliana's #Pizza: #Kid-Friendly #Restaurants #DUMBO #Brooklyn #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com
There are always famous food institutions that you think you should try when you visit a city. People walk over the Brooklyn Bridge just to try one such spot: Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in DUMBO. It’s impossible to walk past the restaurant without stumbling over the queue of people waiting patiently for their slice of famous pie. I get it, I love trying food that I’ve been told is great — but I really, really, really hate lining up for it.

So the secret I’m letting you in on here is huge: Right next to Grimaldi’s is a little pizzeria with a red awning called Juliana’s Pizza. It’s run by the actual Grimaldi family — the ones who started, and then sold, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. Yes, let that all sink in for a minute, and then ponder, like we always do, how they ended up situated next to each other in DUMBO.

Juliana's #Pizza: #Kid-Friendly #Restaurants #DUMBO #Brooklyn #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com
Juliana’s is owned by Patsy & Carol Grimaldi. They sold Grimaldi’s Pizzeria over a decade ago to a customer, but it seems that their passion for pizza never quit, as they partnered with a long-time collaborator to open Juliana’s. The Grimaldis wanted to create a neighborhood pizzeria, preparing and serving pies the way Patsy had for generations. Their new endeavor, Juliana’s, was named in honor of Pat’s mother, Maria ‘Juliana’ Lancieri, and has found its home in the Fulton Ferry Historic District, in the building that was once home to Grimaldi’s.

Juliana's #Pizza: #Kid-Friendly #Restaurants #DUMBO #Brooklyn #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

Juliana’s is usually busy and tightly packed, making it hard to move around with a little one. It does however mean that they have lots of tables constantly turning over and makes it easy to get a table on weekdays. if you’re visiting on weekends, be prepared to wait. Call ahead and put your name down, but make sure your party is all there or they won’t let you sit down.

Juliana's #Pizza: #Kid-Friendly #Restaurants #DUMBO #Brooklyn #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

We don’t usually let Cheese have juice since it makes her totally hyper, but we relented this time because we were dining with friends whose kids were having juice, and Cheese was desperate for juice too. We totally regretted it about an hour later when she was high as a kite, but sometimes it’s worth it to keep the peace at the table.

Juliana's #Pizza: #Kid-Friendly #Restaurants #DUMBO #Brooklyn #NYC via brunchwithmybaby.com

We ordered a simple large classic Margherita ($19). Tomato, mozzarella and basil — the only ingredients needed for the perfect pizza. Juliana’s produces a flavorful, thin crusted pizza, topped with locally and internationally-sourced toppings, and cooked inside a hand-built, coal-stoked hearth. Locals know that Juliana’s is a source for great pizza, and are known to pick up pizza and drive it home, not letting the fact that they don’t deliver stop them from getting their hit of tasty mozzarella and crispy dough.

Looking for somewhere nearby to play? In colder weather, let little ones run around (indoors) at Jane’s Carousel. If it’s warm enough for playgrounds, take your pick between the toddler playground at Pier 1 and the Main Street pirate ship playground in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Last Bite: An alternative to the long lines of  tourist-destination Grimaldis; with reasonably priced, delicious pizza that hits the spot. 

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Not in the restaurant if it’s busy (especially on weekends). Be prepared to leave your stroller outside.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Juliana’s Pizza
19 Old Fulton St,
New York, NY 11201
Phone: (718) 596 6700
Prices: $$
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11:30am-10:30pm Fri & Sat 11:30am-11pm
Get directions

Juliana's Pizza on Urbanspoon

A Child Grows In Brooklyn's Kim Janulewicz & Nicole Horne Talk Website, Work and Parenthood

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Kim Janulewicz and Nicole Horne, the owners and editors of the popular website, A Child Grows In Brooklyn. Kim lives with her husband, Adrian, son Mason (age four), and daughter Arden (age two), in Clinton Hill. Nicole lives with her husband, Nate, daughter Lucy (age four), and son Owen (two), in Park Slope.

#achildgrowsinbrooklyn via brunchwithmybaby.com

Tell us about A Child Grows In Brooklyn.
We are the largest parenting website in Brooklyn and one of the best known parenting blogs in the NYC area. We are considered THE go-to resource for Brooklyn families and we are always striving to have the most up to date and relevant information for parents in Brooklyn. We want parents to have the right information to make the most educated decisions possible for the most important things in life. We also place an emphasis on listing exciting and diverse family-friendly activities for our Brooklyn community.

How did you came to run A Child Grows In Brooklyn?
Kim and I first met when we had just had our oldest children in a mom’s group at the old Boing Boing shop on 7th Ave. We clicked immediately. Not only because we were first time moms together, but our husbands also had so much in common, and we were one of the few from our mom’s group going back to work after the (way too short) maternity leave we had. We loved our jobs but we were both looking to also do something we felt more passionate about, so combining our two big loves, our children and Brooklyn, A Child Grows became our newest baby.

#achildgrowsinbrooklyn via brunchwithmybaby.com

What are your day jobs?
Nicole is Director of Acquisitions for a commercial real estate company and Kim is a recruiter for IE Business School.

How do you manage running a popular website, day jobs, and spending time with your families? Do you manage to achieve work/life balance?
That is the million-dollar question! How does one achieve such a balance? I think this is something we will continue to strive for until the kids are off to college.

One key piece of the puzzle has been having an equal partnership with our husbands in all that we do. Both of our husbands work as well, but they also do everything we do for the kids and the house. Without that, I think the family dynamic would sometimes crumble. We also strive to always be in the moment, whether it is work, family time or personal time, and be grateful for all we have. There is always work to be done and places to be, but if we don’t enjoy the day for what it is and really be present in the moment with our family and friends, what is the point?

#achildgrowsinbrooklyn via brunchwithmybaby.com

Did you take time out of the work force when having kids? If so, how did you find getting back into work?
We took our 3-4 months of maternity leave after both of our children were born. Going back to work was not easy at first. You have so many emotions as a new mom that it’s hard to anticipate how you are going to feel. It was even harder with our second babies, because we were having so much fun with the first on our leave. But it got easier as our babies got a little older and we got better at balancing our work with our home life.

We are both fortunate to have schedules that allow us to have breakfast as a family, take the kids to school, be home for dinner most nights and work from home on Fridays. What has been most helpful in juggling family and work is to prioritize what is truly important and learning to say no to invites or projects that will not fit our schedules. Another piece of advice we got as new moms, that has served us well: hire the best help you can afford. Whether the help is a nanny, daycare, a grandparent or a combination, having childcare you can trust and is dependable will be your best investment and save you a lot of stress and worry.

#achildgrowsinbrooklyn via brunchwithmybaby.com

What do you love about running A Child Grows? What have you learned/experienced that you didn’t expect when you took it on?
The most amazing part of A Child Grows is meeting so many of the innovators, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in Brooklyn. We have met the most amazing people. People who are taking risks, following their dreams and creating something wonderful. It has been truly inspiring to us. So inspiring, that we have started writing monthly articles showing off Brooklyn’s best in our Brooklyn Business Spotlights and Upstarts: Parents Raising Children, Building Businesses on the site.

#achildgrowsinbrooklyn via brunchwithmybaby.com

What’s next for A Child Grows?
We hope to continue to be the most trusted resource for Brooklyn parents. We are constantly researching the best events, products and advice to help parents make informed decisions and are always striving to be relevant, entertaining and helpful.

We are busy planning our 3rd annual Brooklyn Baby and Family Expo in April 2014. It is going to be another fabulous event for the whole family for expectant, new and seasoned parents with children up to age 8. It is a day to bring the online A Child Grows in Brooklyn community together in person to meet new friends and experience relevant educational seminars, community resources, and best products and resources for families.

We are also planning our first virtual Brooklyn Camp Expo in early 2014. It will be a comprehensive listing of all the surrounding camp options for Brooklyn families.

We are also working on comprehensive neighborhood guides to make visiting new Brooklyn areas easier and more fun for families.

#achildgrowsinbrooklyn via brunchwithmybaby.com

Tell us about your fave places in Brooklyn —

— To eat out as a family.
We love having a family meal out at Dinosaur BBQ, which is so big and loud (to drown out our children’s squeals) and has a great kids menu. And we have been exploring all the new restaurants in Gowanus in general.

— To play.
The old standbys are the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and all that Prospect Park has to offer. We’ve recently been having fun at the new NY Kids Club in Park Slope, Frolic! play space in Williamsburg, Twinkle in Greenpoint, Everyday Athlete in Brooklyn Heights and Carroll Gardens. We have a comprehensive guide on A Child Grows Marketplace to help find lots of great options for places to play in Brooklyn.

— And to hibernate in during winter!
There is no hibernating in Brooklyn! There is too much to do and see (plus our apartments are too small!) If you are ever at a loss for new ideas for family outings, we post a weekly and weekend event guide every Sunday and Thursday on the site! You can get our weekly newsletter for all the event listings to help plan your week.

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A Day With A Toddler At American Museum of Natural History: The Hit List

American Museum of Natural History - A Day At The Museum, via brunchwithmybaby.com
Right, so this cold snap means we need to find places that are warm and entertaining for a toddler, FAST. The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is the the perfect place to take an active kid. It has enough rooms, exhibits and general cool stuff to occupy kids of all ages all day — and their parents too (praise be!).

The AMHN has plenty of special exhibits on as well as the permanents like ye olde dinosaurs. If you’re planning a day at the museum (and with toddlers, two hours often feels like a whole day), make sure you visit these toddler-pleasers:

American Museum of Natural History via brunchwithmybaby.com

Origami Holiday Tree
The Origami Holiday Tree is a tradition that goes back 40 years at the museum. Volunteers start folding the ornaments in July to complete the hundreds of creatures that are displayed on the tree. Every year the tree has a different theme — this year it’s Wicked, Wild, and Wonderful, in honor of the Museum’s new exhibition The Power of Poison. The animals are mostly easily identifiable, even for toddlers, so you can easily spend a long time just at the tree, asking your toddler to show you the different animals, and pointing out those they they might not be able to identify themselves. It’s also a good photo op.

Dates: Through January 12, 2014
Entry: Included with general admission

American Museum of Natural History via brunchwithmybaby.com
Dinosaurs
Everyone’s favourite dinosaurs are crowd pleasers for the toddler set too. We like to let Cheese loose in the dinosaur rooms and watch her roar at the T-rex. If your kid (or spouse) is a dinosaur freak, take the “Dino Tour” suggested by the AMNH website to help visitors take in all the dinos on offer. The most entertaining part of the dinosaur exhibits for us is when Cheese tells her dad that the T-Rex needs to brush his teeth (see pic above).

Dates: Permanent exhibit
Entry: Included with general admission

American Museum of Natural History via brunchwithmybaby.com
The Butterfly Conservatory
These beautiful insects flutter into the museum every year. Entry is timed, so you need to buy a ticket for this special exhibit, and play close observance to the rules. I’d suggest taking only babies or older toddlers who can follow directions into this exhibit, as the butterflies are within toddler-reach at all times. The butterflies like to land on visitors — making for some very exciting times for toddlers when they experience their light touch. An enchanting experience, not just the toddlers.

Dates: Through May 26, 2014
Entry: Additional ticket required

American Museum of Natural History - A Day At The Museum, via brunchwithmybaby.com

Whales Of The Deep
This exhibit is fascinating for adults, and fun for kids. There is a life-sized whale heart that kids can crawl inside, and a massive sperm whale skeleton. Cheese’s favourite part of the exhibit was the sound chamber where you could spin a wheel and select a whale, and then listen to its distinctive sounds.

Dates: Through January 5, 2014
Entry: Additional ticket required

American Museum of Natural History - A Day At The Museum, via brunchwithmybaby.com

Frogs: A Chorus Of Color
This live exhibit features frogs in bright orange, blue and red. Toddlers and kids of all ages will enjoy seeing such a large variety of frogs from around the world. It’s a rare chance to get up close to these critters, not to be missed for frog-lovers of all ages. 

Dates: Through January 5, 2014
Entry: Additional ticket required

American Museum of Natural History via brunchwithmybaby.com
Milstein Hall of Ocean Life
The 94-foot-long, 21,000-pound model of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling is a must-see for every visitor. The hall has recently been renovated, and now features 750 sea creatures, including computerized glowing jellyfishes, and includes modern technology in the exhibits, such as high-definition video projections and interactive computer stations. The best spot in the room is lying directly underneath the whale on the floor. No kidding. It’s amazing how different the world looks from down there.

Dates: Permanent exhibit
Entry: Included with general admission

American Museum of Natural History
79th Street and Central Park West
New York, NY

After (or before) your visit, check out these delicious places to eat that are right around the corner.