OpenHouseNewYork Weekend Guide for Kids

If you're planning on staying in the city for the long Columbus Day Weekend, then you've picked a good time to stay home. Besides the Apple Festivals we wrote about yesterday there's another special free festival this weekend with all kinds of unique activities for kids. The openhousenewyork weekend is America's largest architect and design event, opening 350 doors to off-the-beaten-track locations throughout New York City. And OHNY Kids has special programs designed just for children. You'll find programs that teach kids about sustainable living, discover places you've never heard of, go places rarely open to the public, see artist studios in action and participate in fun activities at one of the many historic sites around NYC. We've picked out some of the highlights for you, but you can see the whole Open House New York program guide online.

Free Swap for Kids Halloween Costumes

I want to thank everyone who has already taken the Mommy Poppins Reader Survey. I'm getting all kinds of great feedback and over the next couple of months we'll be starting to institute lots of them. There's going to be a lot of fun and exciting changes and I'm really looking forward to it.

In fact, one piece of feedback lead to this idea already: One of the things that people were interested in was classifieds. Seeing as it's October now and Halloween is on it's way, I thought we'd start out with a Halloween Costume Swap Board.

It will be a fun, easy way to get rid of old costumes or discover new ones. I'm hoping this will be really fun and lots of people will participate. The Mommy Poppins Halloween Costume Swap will be a great way for this community to come together and find great costumes for our kids this Halloween.

September Wrap-Up:Hot Posts and Reader Survey Giveaway

I can't believe Mommy Poppins is coming up on its first birthday. And, like the overbearing mother that I am, I'm already thinking about all the things I can change to make my baby even better than it is.

Toward the end of the year we're planning a complete overhaul of this site with a new design (see a sneak peak of the new look in this image) and improved features. And you can help shape the improvements we'll be making by giving us some input.

Make your voice heard by taking the Mommy Poppins reader survey. Tell us what you love, what you don't, what you'd like to see more or less of. What are your ideas for the site? We want to hear them all. We want to hear as much of your brutally honest feedback as we can get so we can make this site more of what you want it to be.

For more info and September Hot Posts

Eat pie and watch an elephant paint in Dumbo this weekend

This weekend there are two events happening in Dumbo, Brooklyn that will make a great day out with kids.

First is the 4th Annual Bubby's Pie Social where you can taste pies made by community members. It is expected that hundreds of homemade pies will be available. Kids can enter their own pies too. If you or your kids would like to make a pie register on line. The money raised from this event goes to benefit area public schools. So eat your heart out. It's for a good cause.

When you've had your fill of pie, wander a few blocks over to the 11th Annual Dumbo Art Under the Bridge Festival where you'll find, among other really unusual and artistic activities for kids, a painting elephant.

If you haven't had enough fun and excitement by then you could always tromp over to Brooklyn Heights to check out what's for sale at the St Ann's Rummage Sale.

Five Food Hacks: Getting kids to eat vegetables and love it

You don't have to try to fool your kids into eating food that's good for them. You just have to slightly more clever than they are. That's where these five handy food hacks come in. Just little tricks that will help you get more vegetable matter into those little mouths.

101 Easy 10 Minute Recipes for Family Meals

Way back in June the New York Times published what may have been the least helpful guide to making family meals I have ever read. It was something to the effect that mom should spend her weekends organizing and shopping and cooking meatloaves and roasts and other boring, but noncontroversial food. The real kicker was that even with this so called plan, the author recommended eating out towards the end of the week cause you deserve a break.

Nobody needs help figuring out how to spend their weekend cooking or how to order take-out. We need ideas that keep us from having to do that. Good thing I'm a very busy person because by the time I got around to calling to cancel my subscription it was the next week and they had the most glorious article entitled 101 Simple Meals in 10 Minutes or Less. Now that's my idea of a family meal plan - beautiful, easy, delicious and healthy meals you can whip up when you walk in the door and feel like the SuperMom or Dad that you are.

Now, I know there are many kids out there who are not going to eat half the recipes in this article, but there are certainly enough recipes in the other half to give you a nice variety, especially if a little creative recipe tweaking were to go on. But just for kicks let's see how many of our own simple 10 minute recipes we can come up with that are truly kid friendly.*

So here we go. The Mommy Poppins Kid-Approved Simple Dinners 10 Minute Recipe List:

Food Week on Mommy Poppins

Fall is a great time for a fresh start. With the beginning of a new school year we try to get our acts together and get organized around planning simple dinners and easy lunches. We've got to organize all the various family members' schedules. It gets the us A types very excited.

Armchair Exploring: Cool sites to discover off-the-beaten-path New York

Running around and exploring New York is great, but sometimes with kids and toddlers on the scene you'd rather just explore the city from the comfort of your desk chair. This post is a collection of sites that take you to great off the beaten track places around NYC without ever getting off your...laptop.

Whether you use it as a little fantasy armchair exploring or to plan real excursions to tote the kids on, either way you'll get a cool reminder of all the nooks and crannies that make New York City amazing and endlessly fun to explore.

The Terrible Twos are nothing compared to the F*ing Fours

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One of the freaky things about having kids is that you'll be tooling along in your life when, WHAMM!, they'll say or do something that just knocks your socks off and makes everything stop. If you're lucky, you're not too self-obsessed with blogging or reading headlines on I Can Has Cheezburger to notice and you do stop and appreciate the moment and figure out what's really going on in those little brains. This happened to me this weekend.

While I was very busy in the front of the car doing something important like thinking of soup taglines, a little voice chirped up from the back seat. It said something like this:

"You know, I really understand why J is having such a hard time being four. Because I remember when I was four and I had to grow up a lot and go to big kid school and do a lot of stuff for myself and J was just born so he was a baby and got to have everything done for him and I was jealous and it was hard."

OK so her grammar was probably better than my recounting of it, but that was the gist of it.

NYC Nanny 101: Other Voices

In the series NYC Nanny 101: The finding and care of your nanny Parts 1 and 2 I've tried to lay out some basic tips on finding a caregiver in New York, the interview and salaries. But there are lots of different perspectives on this issue. And some of them will make you wet your pants. Enjoy:

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