Special Occasions

8 Bakeries Making Outrageous Birthday Cakes for Westchester Kids

Kids’ birthday parties have become way more elaborate than when we were kids, with large guest lists and elaborate entertainment. Birthday cakes have stepped up their game, too. While some parents opt for simplicity, like buying a sheet cake from the supermarket or Carvel, there’s a definite market for sensational cakes with a heftier price tag.

Below we’ve rounded up Westchester bakeries that have the chops to create cakes worthy of The Food Network. Whether you seek a simple layer cake frosted in buttercream or a three-tiered tower adorned with elaborate fondant figurines, these shops—pardon the expression—really take the cake!

Read on for the skinny and sign up for our e-newsletters to stay in the know about all kinds of resources for Westchester families!

Cauldron Ice Cream Hits Glendale - Ready for Nitrogen Rose Puffle Cones, Kids?

Trends in frozen desserts come and go in the balmy Southland (three words: charcoal ice cream), but new arrival on the scene Cauldron Ice Cream covers enough icy sweet trends under one roof to cater to anyone's passing fancy. After building a rabid fan base in Artesia and Santa Ana, Cauldron has set up its tanks of nitrogen and its puffle cone maker in Glendale, within walking distance of The Americana at Brand (already a pretty cool place to spend an afternoon with kids). Grown-ups with a taste for artisan ice cream may even want to do the responsible thing and try this place out alone first. Just to be fully informed, of course.

Best Spots for Tea Parties or High Tea with Los Angeles Kids

While I miss the days of my son's impromptu tea parties, these days his (and our) tea party tastes are far more grown-up. Forget make-believe beverages and fake cakes—we're now in the market for three-tiered trays of pastries and little sandwiches with the crusts cut off (because why not?). Lucky for us, we have many options in and around Los Angeles for pretending we're in an episode of The Crown or Downton Abbey. So here's a toast (with pinkies raised) to the best afternoon tea spots in the Southland.

A Day at the Races: Is Santa Anita Park a Place To Bring Kids?

Kids love horses; this we know. We can indulge their fascination with a quick round on the ponies at Griffith Park or a stint at horse camp—or we can think outside the box and remember there are more ways to appreciate horses than sitting on one. How about cheering them on as they run? If hanging out at the track is not part of your world, you may not think horse racing sounds like a family activity, but guess what? It absolutely can be. Not only that, it can be totally free.

Family Friendly New Year's Eve Fun in Houston

While typically considered a holiday largely for adults, ringing in the new year isn't solely for the 18-and-up age group. In fact, Houston has quite a few festivities lined up for kids and the whole family on New Year's Eve. Whether it's making a special trip down to Kemah Boardwalk to watch fireworks over the water, or heading to the ever-popular Children's Museum of Houston to enjoy a more traditional balloon drop and "Noon" Year's countdown, there's something for everyone on this list of family-friendly New Year's Eve activities. 

Best Hot Chocolate Spots Around Manhattan

A cup of molten chocolaty goodness is one of the best ways to thaw out and warm up—in fact, it's one of the best things about winter and the holiday season.

We took on the heinous job of running around Manhattan taste-testing hot chocolate (don't say we've never done anything for you) and narrowed it down to nearly two dozen of our favorites. These spots are definitely worth the brief trip out into the cold, so read on for our recommendations for cafes and restaurants that have turned drinking hot cocoa into an experience not to be missed.

By the way, we've also rounded up our favorite Brooklyn hot cocoa cafes and those in Queens. Find more great eats in our NYC Restaurant Guide for Families.

Where To Enjoy High Tea in New Jersey with Kids

If your little sweetie loves the finer things in life—and has the patience to make it through a sit-down meal—he or she may be ready to enjoy an afternoon at one of NJ's many local tea rooms. And, with International Tea Day coming up on December 15, now is the perfect time to try a new tradition!

From the fine china and finger sandwiches to the tempting sweets, your little one will be enchanted during this special one-on-one mommy time. Many host sweet birthday parties, and several offer special holiday events.

11 Fun Things to Do on Christmas Eve With Kids in Houston

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the Christmas season. I know a lot of people have holiday traditions that they enjoy throughout the month of December, like seeing a favorite play or visiting the same Santa for photos each year, while others have special activities reserved for Christmas Day, like enjoying a meal out with family or driving around to see the holiday lights and displays one last time. But to me, there's always been something magical about the night before Christmas. Growing up, that was the day we opened all of our presents from family members, attended the candlelight church service, and listened to Christmas carols while sipping hot chocolate and eating holiday treats, so I guess it's no surprise that I find myself wanting to make the day just as special in our house now that I have my own family. Luckily, there is no shortage of fun things to do with the kids on Christmas Eve.

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