just another day in the park….well, not really

While we did not travel far yesterday (only to our neighborhood park), this is a story worth sharing.

Day at the Park

Yesterday afternoon, I took my two children and their friend to a park in our neighborhood.  It has a great playground, but even more fun for the kids is the little wooded area in one corner, where they can build forts, play hide-and-seek and pick huckleberries.

note:  I already know what you are thinking. What kind of mom let’s her kids go into the dreaded wooded area?  Apparently this one (and a few others I have noticed over the years).

As a rule, I always go in with them, but unfortunately I was a few steps behind due to the fact that I was ever so gracefully cleaning up after our large black lab Lucy.

Within seconds of entering the forest, my son’s friend came tearing out, running as fast as I have ever seen him go, yelling, “GET OUT OF THERE YOU GUYS !” .  Alarmed, I called for my own children, who came tearing out right after him. When I finally caught up to them (they were not stopping for anyone), they breathlessly told me what they had witnessed.

“There was a hunched over man, with blood all over him, who had been stabbed. He told us ‘You better get out of here! ‘ “

“There was another man in black coming towards us !”

“The bleeding man was walking quickly away from a bunch of people at a table barbecuing!”

That last one seemed a little odd. The red herring, if you may.  I had never seen people having a barbecue in the trees at this park.

I herded the terrified children into my car and called 911.  It was a stressful 10 minutes because while I was on the phone with the police, I could see what was obviously the deranged psycho, dressed entirely in black, skulking around the edge of the forest.  I was also trying to warn other families that seemed to be coming from every direction and heading towards the woods. It was like one of those action movies where the protagonist realizes a whole population is at risk, yet those people are entirely unaware of the imminent danger.

Within minutes, four squad cars including some undercover police were on the scene circling the forest. I was proud of the description the kids were able to provide to our assigned police officer of the injured man.

“He was wearing a light blue polo shirt and dark jeans.”  (from the friend)

“He had dark brown hair and was a little shorter than dad.”   (from my own son)

“He had black hair and blonde hair and some brown hair.”   (from my daughter)

Okay, maybe scratch that last one from the record.

Then, after what seemed like an eternity, three scratchy words came over our officer’s radio.

“It’s a movie.”

It’s funny how in hindsight something can become so obvious. The table, the man in black…..

Still, I praised the children for doing everything right.

To the man with the fake stab wound, and the film crew, I have three words.  “What the F?”.  Perhaps next time you bump into a group of kids in the forest you might say ‘Hey kids we’re filming a movie rather than, “You better get out of here.”.

last stop on the F train – coney island, new york

On a recent trip to discover all things wonderful for kids in New York City, we decided to hop on the F train and spend an afternoon in Coney Island. Coney Island and its Luna Park amusement rides are a natural fit for kids, but something appealed to me as well that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it was the East Coast boardwalk and beachfront atmosphere that I had really only seen in the movies. Regardless of my motivation, we had a ton of fun and it looked like this.

Riding the rails (The Express F train from Rockefeller Center will take you there in 40 minutes.).

Coney Island F Train

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breaking my addiction to ziploc bags for travel

I really do try to reduce, reuse and recycle, but I have one big vice. That vice is the resealable Ziploc bag. I absolutely love them for travel. It begins with the packing of my 3oz (100ml) liquid containers for security screening and carries on to house and partition many other things in my luggage. Sometimes I just drop a whole pile in my suitcase for a little ‘je ne sais quoi’ along the way. I have not been able to break this habit despite owning several alternatives, including a reusable TSA approved clear screening bag and a set of mesh packing cubes for my clothes. Yes, I sometime rinse the Ziplocs out and reuse them,but then again, sometimes I don’t. On these lazy occasions, I wait until no one is looking (especially my tattling children) and I shove them in the garbage can. This is followed by about 20 minutes of self-loathing. Nic & Elli Reusable Water Resistant Bags

My thanks go out to the Pint Size Pilot reader who gently prodded me in a new direction by introducing me to an excellent alternative from the Canadian company Nic & Elli.  Their water resistant ‘wet bags’ come in a variety of sizes and prints. Over the past few months I have been using the small ones for my children’s snacks (anything from crackers to cucumber slices) and a big one to carry around wet swimsuits after a visit to the water park or the beach. Once I get home, I simply rinse them out, and hang them up to dry for their next use.

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sweet treats for kids in DUMBO, Brooklyn

View of Manhattan Bridge from DUMBO Brooklyn

DUMBODown Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass

I had to Google this odd acronym that refers not to a flying elephant, but rather to the historical and recently gentrified waterfront warehouse district of Brooklyn.

While in New York City recently to research all the city’s great places for kids, our family decided to take the train to Coney Island, with a quick stop first in DUMBO, Brooklyn. My original plan had us biking or walking over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, but as is often the case on our trips, I quickly realized that I needed to scale back our plans so as to avoid a full family revolt (it was pretty hot out). In the end, we took the train over (or should I say ‘under’), and enjoyed a nice stroll with great  views, ate some yummy sweet treats, and even did a little shopping. We were so engaged by our sneak peak of Brooklyn,  that we have decided to visit (and stay) in this borough next year. In our short stopover, however, here is what we saw.

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best portable bassinets, baby cribs and toddlers beds for travel

best travel bassinets and portbable baby cribsPlanning a trip with an infant, baby, or toddler can be tricky.  One of the most important considerations is figuring out how your child is going to sleep best. While sometimes your chosen accommodation will have a proper crib, many times it will not, or will offer something less ideal such as a playpen. For these situations, you may want to consider bringing your own portable travel baby cot, crib or toddler bed.  After many trips, and much trial and error with my own children, here are my recommendations for the best travel baby bassinets, cribs and toddler beds.

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