Monday, December 19, 2011

Guest Post: Kendra from Manhattan

Hi! I'm Kendra and I'm a stay-at-home mom to 3 great kids and wife to a public school teacher. We live in Manhattan on a pretty tight budget, so we try to search out lots of free and cheap things to do.  We love this city and all it has to offer. One of our favorite things to do during the Holiday season is to go on a Circle Line Cruise with Santa Claus.  It's only $3 per person, but they ask that you bring a new unwrapped toy for each ticket you purchase. A couple of US Marines are on hand to collect the toys for their annual Toys for Tots drive.  It is a wonderful trip around the southern tip of Manhattan. Past lots of great landmarks including the Statue of Liberty, the Battery, former site of the World Trade Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge, the United Nations, and South Street Seaport just to name a few. There are photo opportunities with Santa and Free milk&cookies (as well as the option to buy additional food). The weather this year was cold, but clear and beautiful and made for a great afternoon activity. Our family had a wonderful time.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Scholastic Store

Does your child/children love books and or toys?  If they do, which is really likely, they will love this store.  The place is surrounded by shelves and shelves of books one can sit on the tail of a dinosaur to read one or the people that work there will pull out a toy for your little one to play with.

You can look around and find a huge Clifford to ride in or watch 'Arry Potter ride around Hogwarts (at least I am fairly sure it is Hogwarts).  Or you can climb on the Magic School bus "Whoo hoo hoo!" Perhaps you could go on a subway ride with popular children's books characters. The possibilities are numerous!

Best of all, the store is absolutely free--to go into. 

Good luck with leaving empty handed.  If you go into the business portion side of the store (closest to the N or R train stop) you'll see their fabulous Christmas Tree.  It's amazing!

Would you like to read more of our experience there?  See this.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


"Can" you imagine all the people that "can" be fed by people who donate cans of food for people.

Turns out that a lot of people can be fed by canned food. We went to Canstruction a the World Financial Center in Manhattan. The cost? A can of food.

Now,  please take a moment and instead of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, imagine these structures coming toward you and then thousands of hungry people swarming to get a can of food, smiling gratefully for the food they've been given . . . You really don't have to imagine that. I'll just imagine it.

Just prior to the swarming hungry people someone with a nice voice that you feel could be a good friend says, "Wow! Look at this--Breaking Dawn by National Repo Graphics.  This float (okay--I think I'm in the parade zone) has 1,700 cans of food and will feed 755 New Yorkers. Enjoy the protein rich legumes folks."

"Oh, and here we have the candles that are 'Shedding Lite on Hunger.' This display has 2,600 cans of food which will feed 2,090 New Yorkers. Good work, Leslie E. Roberts and Associates."

The Cantropolis is the home and working place of 3,725 cans which will feed 3,460-ish New Yorkers, thanks to the efforts of AECOM.

This is a unique one--unfortunately I am not sure how many people this will feed or how many cans it contains.  But it is rather fabulous, don't you think?
This one is called "Rise Against Hunger" it has 1,500 cans.  For some reason it reminds me of a Charles Schultz cartoon. It was done by Ferguson and Shamamian Architects, LLP.

"We CAN EnLIGHTen the World" by Severud Associates Consulting Engineers made me think of the torch held by the statue of Liberty--plus it is protein packed. It will feed 1,020 New Yorkers with its 2,410 cans.

CAN you believe it . . . yuck, yuck, yuck.

The Cangry Bird was a favorite among my children. It was from DeSimone Consulting Engineers, contained 3,500 cans  and will feed 1,570 people.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Have you been to the Brooklyn Children's Museum? Forget anything Manhattan for children. Come to Brooklyn. It's generally quiet and so fun!

I kept getting gasps of delight with "Mom, look at this!" and "Awesome!"

The third Thursday is free as is the first full weekend of the month--but not for school groups.

They had the fake garden for the children to practice planting and picking vegetables.

We they went down to the sand box and played. We visited Fantasia the snake (the BCM mascot) outside her display--she's gigantic,

played with the tangram pieces, and build a bug.

But the winning part of the experience --this time-- was BCM's very own Spumoni Gardens.  
The kids had  a glorious time playing waiter, cook, cashier, etc. My favorite kid comments then were:
"May I get your order, Madam?" and "Here's your drink. You'll have to share. Share your pizza too." and "Mom, pay me for the food."
The kidlets had a fabulous vespa-ish experience.
For the 5 and under crowd is the totally tots department, which we did not visit (grudgingly from my over-five-ers).  It looked amazing!

I'll be honest, it was really nice to stop myself from saying "No!" every few minutes.  This is the universal "Yes, go ahead and play with that" place.

When I got home and was getting my youngest (age 3) ready for bed he said, "Mom, Now can we go back to the museum?"  Then tonight he told my husband, "Dad, I want to go the museum." Looks like we will be going back another time to the BCM.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon When You Take the North "Poll"

Melissa & Doug want you to tell them which of their educational toys you think is the best! Just click on the image below to place your vote in the North "Poll!" You'll Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon** to use at just for voting!

Roosevelt Island Tram and Dylan's Candy Bar

For the cost of a subway ride you can take the Roosevelt Island Tram. It opened in 1976, has two bright red gondolas, and is the only mass transit tram in North America. It goes high up in the air, it shows you beautiful NYC vistas. It's on 59th and 2nd Avenue.

 If your child is over 44 inches tall--you must pay for them.  They'll put your card through for you--which is really convenient if your hands are full. 

 It was around the time that I took the photo above that a huge gust of wind hit the tram and the entire tram swayed like crazy for a second and my oldest hit his head on the door because it was packed and we were the last ones on. You could hear the thud through the whole car and he ended up okay, but with a head ache. 

So, if you're on the tram make sure your children know that there may be gusts of wind that will sway the tram and they need to be ready to protect their heads with their hands. 

 When you get to Roosevelt Island you can take the $.25 Red Bus around Roosevelt Island. Roosevelt Island hosts neat events--like their recent Quidditch match. If you'd like to see what it actually looks like click here.

 This is the famous candy store is right up the street from the tram so it makes sense that we'd stop there--but it was so full of people and the line to buy the stuff almost went out the door and my children were to the tired, hungry, grouchy stage--so we opted to look briefly and get something up the street, but my friends that have actually purchased something there say it is not exactly economical--but it is delicious--really delicious.