'Green' Lunch Containers Can Save You Money

There is a staggering statistic being bandied around on tree hugger websites lately, that each school aged kid throws out 67 pounds of garbage a year with their home packed lunch. Multiply that by the number of school kids on your block and that is a lot of plastic wrap and juice boxes going into landfills every year.  It doesn’t have to be that way. When my son started full day school last year I made an effort to pack a “waste free lunch”. To my surprise it was easy.  Cutting back on all that trash even saved me money. Now if I could just figure out how to get him to eat what I pack!  

Read on for our tips on how to build a greener and cheaper lunch.

Things to do this Weekend for Families in New York City-September 11 & 12, 2010: Festivals, Book Events, Bike Riding and Music

Yes, the kids are back in school, but don’t think of it as the end of the summer, think instead that it is the start of the amazing fall season in New York City, bringing tons of opportunity for exciting experiences, fun festivals and cool culture.  

Like this weekend, there is so much going on; it is hard to decide where to start. The not-to-miss events are definitely Howl! Festival and The Brooklyn Book Festival.  While neither of them is specifically for kids, both events have special programming and areas just for kids and families. There are some smaller events that are equally as impressive around town, too.  You can enjoy the Harvest days at the Historic Lefferts House, The County Fair in Riverside Park (lots of fun and even has square dancing) or pack a picnic for the free world culture dance and music performances in Queens.  Let’s not forget the book release events, creative writing, drawing, mosaic and architecture workshops, too.

If you are in back to school planning mode, you may want to refer to our recent posts on unique after school classes, places to cook with your kids, some great new programs at the Central Park Zoo and our recently updated Classes Guide.  We also posted our favorite time saving school lunch ideas.

Welcome Back. Read on and have a great weekend!

NJ Weekend Events September 11-12: Festivals of Sheep, Oysters, Children's Books, Music, Kids & Family, and more

School may be back in session, but this weekend's calendar looks like summer to me!  Plenty of "fishy fun" is to be had seining fish at Sandy Hook's Annual Kids Day or chowing down on shellfish at Asbury Park's Oyster Festival.  Also this weekend is a wide variety of festivals including the Annual Sheep & Fiber Festival (no cows or horses at this one!), Union County's Music Fest with a fully-charged Kids Kingdom, Princeton Library's Children's Book Festival featuring over 50 children's authors and illustrators including R.L. Stein of the Goosebumps series, and Hoboken's First Annual Family Arts Fest with hours of music, kids theater and yoga workshops, and more.  Or head indoors for some Back-To-School entertainment like Disney Live! Mickey's Magic Show at the Prudential Center. 

Long Island Weekend Events: September 11th-12th, 2010

Okay, we know that summer feels officially over, but even so, we still have some beautiful weather, perfect actually for some state park activities and some good beach time.  You can help feral quail return to the wild, attend a harvest and seafood festival, and everywhere you turn you are bound to bump into a great arts and crafts festival--the cool kind that cater to the whole family and include rides and fair food and cute animals. And if you are feeling hungry, check out the Granda Festa Italiana for some good eating and good fun. Have a great weekend.

New Educational Programs for Fall 2010 at the Central Park Zoo

Central Park's Zoo has revved up it's educational offerings for families, youth and even adults for Fall 2010. They have expanded their toddler series and created exciting new programs for families and big kids. You can make treats for the animals, enjoy some fall and winter fun, meet some of the staff at the zoo and get an inside peek at what they do and a lot more.  Plus they have a new winter zoo camp for kids.  My son has done a ton of programs at the Central Park Zoo, even a few summers of camp, and the programs here are great --organized, interesting, well thought out and fun.  They usually fill up fast but the Curator of Education assured us that there was still room in every program.  So don’t wait too long.

4 Cool Enrichment Classes for Kids in New York City: Comedy, Rugby, Weaving and Veterinarian

[UPDATED: July 12,2012]

Kids today get to do way better stuff than I ever did when I was a child.  When I was a kid, after school programs consisted of sports or scouts with maybe a piano lesson thrown in for good measure, a far cry from the opportunities available to my son.  Unique and enriching classes are abound in New York City:  rugby, veterinary school and stand up comedy are just a few of the classes available nowadays.

Some of the coolest enrichment classes for kids in NYC:

Sneak Peak: Turtle Back Zoo's New Aquarium Exhibit

There’s something new at the zoo! (Besides the new face painting and glitter tattoo artist, of course). The charming Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange has been around since 1963, but it’s always re-inventing itself. In late September (date to be determined) Turtle Back will open its newest exhibit, “Worlds of Water” aquarium. Here I'll share details with you about the aquarium that will definitely be on your must visit list.


Have Your Fun and Eat It Too: 8 Great Cooking Classes for You and Your Kid

Cooking with your child is a great way to spend some quality time together. The hands-on exploration of cooking is not just a great sensory experience, but can also help to get junior interested in what he eats, and might just tempt him out of his hot dog and applesauce comfort zone into the wilds of more exotic flavors. Plus, it's fun. Family cooking activities abound this fall, and we've found some great parent-child cooking workshops and classes for you. Here are a few options.


Chore Charts Apps That Help Track Kids Chores and Rewards

This evening my 7 year old unloaded the dishwasher, swept the kitchen floor, made his bed, picked up his toys, and expressed gratitude in the form of a polite "Thank you for making dinner." I kid you not...and I'm not trying to impress you with my uber mothering either. In fact, this is the first time he ever did some of those things.

The magic behind this household chore windfall was a new app I installed on my iPhone and my son's iPod Touch,

Take Me to the River Grassroots Festival: Westchester Music Fest for the Whole Family

If the only concerts you’ve seen recently involved singing dogs, dinosaurs or puppets, maybe it’s time to check out a cool music festival that you will enjoy as much as your kids will. On September 11th, the 3rd Annual Hastings-on-the-Hudson “Take Me To The River” Grassroots Festival hits Draper Park in Westchester. It is an all day event and in addition to the musical grooves celebrating local and nationally acclaimed blues, folk, jazz and alternative musicians, it is also a festival showcasing an array of art, various art installations, and art activities for the kids. And you don’t need a car to get there.


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