Where to find safe, Green toys in 2007-Chinese Year of the Recall

Safer Toy Guide 2007

A couple weeks ago The New York Times followed NYC parent blog demigods, Liz Gumbinner and Greg Allen, on toy shopping expeditions and interviewed them about the whole China-toy-recall-apalooza.

In the article, Greg Allen who writes daddytypes.com says,

“I think people are kind of stunned because they don’t know what to do. You can’t just cut out every made-in-China toy. It’s just not realistic.�?

Liz Gumbinner, on the other hand, was not one of those stunned parents who didn't know what to do. She knew exactly what to do. Liz writes on a blog called Cool Mom Picks where a couple of savvy, stylin' moms post every day about the best stuff out there for babies and parents.

Green Parenting Week: Environmental Living with Kids in NYC

Environmentalism has become so mainstream that Alanis Morissette is going to have to make a comeback just so she can add a new verse to her hit song Ironic. "It's like using environmentalism to get people to buy more crap...oh who would have thought it figgered..."

I was born with a biodegradable soy-based spoon in my mouth, so I've been living green in New York for many decades. (Actually, we all live green here since living in an urban environment makes much less impact on the planet than most suburban and rural living.)

This week I'll be sharing some of the ways I've found to make NYC life with kids even greener without having to suffer. I've already written about my water bottle solution. I've been loving our aluminum water bottles. Today I'd like to mention a tradition that my friends and I have taken to: the swap.

Halloween Links

We're finishing up Halloween week with some links to other great sites and Halloween info - crafts, projects and more NYC Halloween stuff for kids.

Best Classic Halloween Books and Spooky Stories

To little kids, Halloween is pretty abstract. To bigger kids, it's just awesome. Either way, reading some great Halloween stories is a fun way to extend the fun and excitement of Halloween. I've collected my all-time favorite Halloween books, a bunch of classics and a couple of brand-new classics. All sure to either make Halloween even spookier or a little less so. Judith Viorst is probably best known for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, but her other books are just as great. That includes My Mama Says There Aren't Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Demons, Monsters, Fiend. I love this book because it deals with the very real issue kids have over just how much they can trust their parents when it comes to things like whether monsters exist or not. {C}

5 Magical Halloween Events for NYC Families

I can't believe how many Halloween events there are in this city. There is cool-sounding stuff to do for Halloween with kids in every corner of the city from now until the 31st. Little neighborhood events can be the best ones, so definitely keep an eye out for what's going on in your hood (and let us know).

I've picked out just five events that each take a different spin on celebrating the holiday, aren't too commercialized, and hopefully bring that Halloween magic that will give you and your family great Halloween memories.

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
Just as the sun is setting, children launch their lit Jack o' Lanterns out into the Harlem Meer and watch as the flotilla of jack o' Lanterns float across the water. Starting at 4PM there will also be mask-making workshop, lawn games, a costume parade, and costume contest. FREE. When: Saturday, October 28th, 4-7PM

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Ghouls and Ghords
At Ghouls and Gourds kids learn about plants as they engage in freakishly fun activities. In addition to the great big costume parade, carnivorous plant feedings with BBG's very own "Morticia Adams," giant ten-foot-tall puppets, a flying flea circus, mysterious music, and other eerie oddities. Music from Maracatu NY and the rockin' tunes of Audra Rox. Sounds cool.
When: Sunday, October 28 from noon to 6.

Scared Silly: Halloween in Prospect Park
A weekend of Halloween family fun in Prospect Park. There'll be the Haunted Carousel, Scary Stories from the past and period Halloween crafts at Lefferts Historic House, Creepy Crawly Critter Fest at the Audubon Center, Boo at the Zoo, and the Halloween Haunted Walk (Saturday only) and carnival. All free except for carousel and Zoo admission. When: October 27 – 28

Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall will be the site of a weekend full of family fun and events, but the highlight is sure to be the award-winning giant puppets of Ralph Lee. These puppets are just amazing and there's nothing like seeing them up close. It's sure to be some Halloween magic you and your children will remember for years to come. When: October 27-28

Di­a de los Muertos
Not eactly Halloween, but I thought it would be interesting to add a slightly different cultural perspective on this Holiday. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is the Mexican version of our All Saints Day or Halloween. At this Family festival, families are invited to explore the ancient roots and contemporary DГѓВ­a de los Muertos customs through bilingual educator-led altar discussions, artist-led workshops, storytelling, live music and dance performances, and food workshops that teach about ofrendas (offerings) and the traditional foods involved in the celebration. Free, but registration required. When: Saturday, November 3, 12:00 pm - 3:30 pm

The museums come to you at NYC CultureFest

Earlier in the week I wrote about the The Cool Parents’ Guide to All of New York as the NYC book most like the spirit of Mommy Poppins. Today I'm writing about the event that is most in the spirit of this site, NYC CultureFest.

NYC CultureFest is one of those events you might ignore while speeding past the tacky poster taped to the subway wall, but Mommy Poppins is here to tell you this one is a keeper. It's like a pop-up version of a NYC guide - you'll find out about 125 museums, kids' classes, events, performances and more. Add two stages of off-beat entertainment, one dedicated just to kids' shows, and loads of fun activities for kids at all the booths and your "research" couldn't be more fun. I guarantee you'll find out about stuff you had no idea existed. Plus, it's free.

More events for NYC kids this weekend after the jump...

Tid Bits: Events, news and our giveaway winner

I often hear that one of the big problems bloggers have is running out of ideas of what to write about. Luckily I have never faced that issue. In fact, I have just the opposite. There are so many amazing things going on in NYC for kids that I actually have a queue of over 50 posts just waiting to be written at any time. I just wish there were more of me so I could get to all of them.

So, in this post I'm going to throw out a bunch of little snippets that I've had sitting in my queue waiting for their day in the sun...and at the end I'll announce the winner of our Warm Biscuit Bedding Company Giveaway.

Book of the Week: Cool Parent's Guide to All of New York

Some of my very favorite posts to write on this site are the excursions. I love planning a day out in the city with the kids in some great neighborhood to explore, figuring out where to eat and digging up some off the beaten path finds. Unfortunately they are also the most time-consuming posts to write and I don't get to do nearly as many as I'd like to. In fact, I have a very long list of excursions that I'd love to write up, but need to do the leg-work before I feel like I can.

Until I get around to my very long list of NYC kid outings, there's a great book that is very much in the spirit of this site. The Cool Parents' Guide to All of New York: Excursions and Activities in and Around Our City That Your Children Will Love and You Won't Think Are Too Bad Either is a guide book that is just as good for families who live here as it is for visitors. It takes you on fabulous day trips through the city and covers a lot of those spots that even been there done that New Yorkers either haven't been or forgot about.

Dinner for Three: The art of eating out with an infant, toddler or preschooler

All NYC kids should be raised restaurant-ready, but it doesn't happen automatically. My blogger friend, and Izzy's Mom, chronicles her quest to raise her son as a gourmand on her site, Izzy Eats and has been generous enough to share some of her tips for how to eat out at restaurants with kids and enjoy it at every stage of the game. Along the way she recommends some of her favorite restaurants that she's enjoyed with her son. Thanks, Izzy's Mom!

My son, Izzy and I, have been dining out together since he was born. Eating in restaurants was an important part of my life and I wasn’t about to give that up when I became a mother. Instead I wanted to include my son in the pleasures of the table, especially since New York City is a restaurant paradise. Now at age four, dining out is second nature to him. At home or in restaurants, eating with him is a true delight. He is a polite and interested eater which I attribute to his regular exposure to restaurant culture early on. And so, based on my experience I offer the following so that you too can dine out successfully.

Giveaway: $50 Gift Certificate to Warm Biscuit Bedding Company

I'm not much of a soft-y, but there's something about vintage kid stuff that just makes me weak in the knees. I'm not talking about like 1970s hipster let's-put-Atari-decals-on-the-walls vintage. I mean like Dick and Jane 1950s vintage. The innocence and the optimism just thrills me.

And, let's face it, there's nothing more optimistic than having a baby–or decorating a nursery, for that matter. Filling your child's room with beautiful, wholesome toys and artwork is a wish that your and your children's lives will be just as perfect and serene as the room.

If there's any place to stock up on vintage optimism, it's The Warm Biscuit Bedding Company. They sell all kinds of furniture, decorations and of course bedding for lovely kids' rooms, but I have to say my heart lies in their classic toys. And they sell pages and pages of them.

You can really get lost in this site for a long time just checking out all the wonderful things that they have.


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